The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

After national success, dance team’s plea for varsity status

The dance team has a rigorous schedule akin to other varsity sports. (Photo courtesy of @lafayettecollegedanceteam on Instgram)

Despite succeeding in national competitions in January and having a rigorous training schedule throughout the school year, the dance team is considered a club sport by the college. The 11 members of the dance team hope to change this so they can reap the benefits afforded to officially-recognized varsity sports.

“We are stuck dancing in the stands instead of dancing on the field or court,” Stephanie Davidson, senior captain of the dance team, said. “We are only seen as [the girls] cheering on or dancing for the school’s football and basketball teams.”

The team faces several other obstacles because it is not recognized as an official sports team.

“If we have a competition during the school year, we aren’t able to get dean’s excuses [from class] like every other sport does,” Catriona Scott, junior captain of the Lafayette dance team, said.

Davidson said that instead of having access to sports medication or being treated on campus, dance team members must pay out of pocket for doctors’ appointments, physical therapy and other injury treatments.

Since the dance team is considered a club, it receives all of its funding from Student Government instead of the athletics department or Maroon Club. This year, the team received $42,464. While it usually only requests $1,000 per year, attending nationals increased the amount of funding the team needed.

“Before we got money from Student Government for nationals we were expected to pay for it entirely ourselves,” Scott said. “Even with transportation to the airport [to get to Florida for nationals] … we had to find [an outside bus] company that was willing to take us.”

In January, the Universal Dance Association (UDA) and Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) Nationals took place at the ESPN Worldwide Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. After putting in hours during the course of their semester and break from school, Lafayette’s dance team placed 14th in the nation in the pom division and 16th in the hip-hop division.  

Scott said it was frustrating to compete against schools that consider their dance teams to be participating in varsity sports.

Sherryta Freeman, the director of the athletics department, was contacted about the process of becoming a varsity sport, and what steps, if any, the dance team has taken to be identified as one. She did not respond.

To be qualified to compete nationally at the collegiate level, Lafayette’s dance team has revamped its program over the last year to make it more intensive and competitive.

“We revamped in the sense that we have more practices and longer practices and we have a real coach now so we brought the team to a whole new level,” Davidson said.

Overall, the dance team hopes to one day be recognized as a sport.

“I would want to change Lafayette’s outlook in order to show the school that dance is more than just an art and more than just there to support other teams,” Davidson said. “We are a team. We are a sport.”

View Comments (1)

Comments (1)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Marilyn F RiordanMar 3, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    I absolutely agree that this should be recognized as a varsity sport. The time and effort (and success) expended by the team members as representatives of Lafayette College surely meets the definition of varsity level activity. This action is much overdue!