By Tristan Davis – Features Editor
Depending on the person, the word “dance” has infinite definitions. Some see it as a sign of celebration. You dance at a wedding, at the end of a long work week, or at a concert of your favorite band. It’s also part of cultural expression, with thousands competing in ballroom, tap, and Irish step dancing competitions each year. For the devout members of Lasell’s Pulse Competitive Dance Team, it’s not just an activity, it’s a full-on commitment.
“Usually when I’m making a dance, I’ll figure out the choreography before practice. First we’ll warm up, then I’ll start teaching it to the girls,” said international student from Caracas, Venezuela, junior Mava Otero, hip hop choreographer for the team. Otero started dancing at age four then began choreographing as a dance teacher at age 16.
The all-female team lines up in carefully selected positions, and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” blasts out of the speakers, igniting a group-oriented warm-up that fuses dancing with stretching. Once they’re ready, the group segways into more complex routines, with Otero stopping the group every once in a while to give constructive feedback. She holds in her hand a piece of paper with X’s and O’s representing the girls’ spots marked all over it, which acts as a key to running an organized practice.
Earlier this semester, the team’s executive board (co-captains Rose Leger and Jazmine Johnson, senior and junior, respectively, and co-choreographers Otero and sophomore Jessica Lindell) held open tryouts to the student body, welcoming many returners and a few new girls to the team.
“We look for a positive attitude and open mind, while also having a sense of individuality while they dance, because even though we’re a team, I want them to be proud of who they are,” said Leger.
Outside of the dance studio, the team keeps busy. Their promotional “Hit The Quan” dance video was uploaded to YouTube so viewers could get a sneak peek at what’s to come. The video has since garnered roughly 5,000 views. The team performs at both men’s and women’s basketball home games and the program’s biggest event of the academic year, the Dance Showcase in de Witt Hall.
The team also traveled to Becker College in Leicester on Saturday, November 14 for a showcase of three colleges.
The practice slowly comes to a close, with each dancer having learned something new while also being told what they should work on in preparation for the next practice. There is no coach, forcing each dancer to depend on each other for constructive feedback and support. Perhaps this is what makes the group so unique; a distinct sense of individuality that makes them a force to be reckoned with, both onstage and off.