By: Jess Larkin ~Copy Editor~
In celebration of Xavier’s Dance Team qualifying for finals for the 10th straight year, the Newswire sat down with coach Steve Chapla to learn the team’s secret and how they have grown over the years.
Xavier Newswire: I noticed that this is the dance team’s 10th year going to nationals. That’s an amazing accomplishment. What is the team’s secret?
Coach Steve Chapla: That is correct, this was our 10th straight year qualifying and competing at the college national championships in Daytona Beach, Fla. When I came aboard 10 years ago, I told the team that we would be competing nationally and never looked back. A lot of hard work, planning, determination and accepting that there is really no other option but to qualify for the national championships and compete helps us every season. This year was the first year we took two routines down to nationals with us, Open Division I Jazz and Division I Hip Hop (usually we just take one routine for the Open Division I).
XN: Is there a strong bond among the girls?
SC: There is definitely a strong bond between the team and that helps accomplish our goals and have fun along the way. The team acts as a second family as we spend so much time together with practice, games, fundraising and local performances.
XN: What makes the dance team different from other clubs on campus?
SC: First the dance team is different at XU from many other dance teams because at most universities, the dance team is under athletics. The dance team at Xavier is different from other clubs on campus as we are a pretty much a year-round activity (tryouts in the spring, camp in the summer, training/ performing all school year). Also, I believe we are the only club team that has competed nationally for the past 10 years. We love representing the university and our city on a national level.
XN: What hurdles have you jumped through to get to where you are now?
SC: We haven’t had to jump many hurdles, thankfully, but the limited school funding and the size of our school have made it difficult at times. We have to fundraise a lot of our budget for the season and fundraising takes up a lot of extra time. With the size of Xavier, it has challenged us at times due to the number of student dancers and finding the dedicated athletes as we compete against many schools who have double, and sometimes triple, the student body.
XN: What are you most proud of with the team?
SC: I am most proud of watching the team grow as dancers and people along their journey. To see the improvement from where they begin through the end of the season is so rewarding. The dancers learn life lessons, being on a nationally ranked team, and will be able to apply many of the skills they learn upon entering the “real world” after graduation.
XN: Are there any seniors on the team this year? If so, how will their graduating change the team’s dynamic?
SC: There are two seniors on the team that will be graduating this spring, Elle McFarland (captain) and Sarah Moore. They danced all four years here at Xavier. They have been a pleasure to work with and will be missed. The team is close and with so many returning. Tryouts for interested dancers will be 5 p.m. on May 1 in the Auxiliary gym. Requirements for candidates are listed on the Xavier club sports website.