by ADANNA CARTER, Contributor
The ability, dedication and the opportunity to dance are beautiful escapes to a world of creativity, positivity, unity and possibility. Dancers are a gift of entertainment; they move with a motion of excitement and influence our emotions with their power of rhythm. The beat can be slow, fast, mellow, calm or smooth. Manhattan College’s Jasper Dancers are energetic and enthusiastic, they like to get the crowd pumping, hollering and cheering. From basketball game performances to professional dances, these dancers are the light, smile and excitement of the school.
These ladies are hardworking and work diligently to perform trendy, sassy and animated dances. Not only do they pump up the crowd, spice up the room and send the beat running through the congregation, they also encourage an environment of joy and life skills. The Jasper Dancers express that they love to represent the school, show off school spirit, perform at basketball games, be around people with similar passions and bond with one another.
“My favorite part about being a Jasper Dancer is being able to do what I love with people who share the same passion,” Lauren Davison, a junior dancer, said. “We have practice three days a week, there are times when we goof around because we are all friends. There are also times during those practices where we put in a lot of work to better ourselves in a dance or skill or we are working towards bettering ourselves as a team. I absolutely love sharing similar goals with my teammates and working towards them together.”
The dancers have mastered the art of time management, enforced the craft of confidence and nurtured the quality of school spirit. “Being a Jasper dancer has taught me how to balance everything in my life. It has also taught me that the work you put in will show in the end. Hard work is always worth it,” Madison Swenton, a junior dancer, said.
“Being a Jasper dancer has influenced me so positively, even though at times I can become overwhelmed with work, school and practice it really helps me with time management and I feel it has taught me a skill I can apply in the future,” Tina Fernandez, a senior co-captain, said.
The dancers’ intense practice schedule is not just for the basketball games, however.
“On top of performing at basketball games, the dance team also competes at Nationals in April. We perform a Pom and hip hop dance,” Gabriella Marinaro, a senior co-captain said. “We have very long exhausting practices that can get difficult and frustrating but as a team we always pull together as one and get through it.”
The dancers not only have a bond on stage, but off stage as well. “The team is like our own little family. We have a lot of practice and we spend a lot of time together,” Marinaro said. “We like to share our individual and team goals with each other. We all are extremely close and love helping each other whether it’s in dance or outside of it.”
“We actually have bonding events each year, we call them retreats and usually we get together at the captains’ apartment and all order pizza and hang out and just try to get to know each other more, especially the freshman so they feel more comfortable as they adjust to the huge transition of college,” Fernandez said.
Ultimately, our Jasper Dancers exemplify team spirit, relationship building, unity and conscientiousness.
“My goal for the dance team is to end this year on a high note. Even if we don’t leave Nationals as champions, leaving knowing we did our best and all our hard work was worth it. But making Finals would be awesome,” Marinaro said. “We are putting in a lot of work this year for nationals and are super excited.”
“Being a Jasper Dancer has really made me love Manhattan College so much more. I love seeing all the school spirit at the games and being able to participate in it,” Marinaro said.