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From competition to community, dance team has it all

Ashlyn Talcott, center, leads Westminster College’s dance team through one of their new dances. Talcott, team captain, said she loves dancing with her team and appreciates the mutual respect that runs through her relationship with each member. (Marisa Cooper)

Dance has been a way of life for Ashlyn Talcott, a Westminster College junior studying business management, for as long as she can remember. 

She said the dance team has become an important source of community for her since coming to Westminster and now Talcott is fostering that source of community as team captain. 

“I love giving these guys a place to have friends [outside of class],” said Nicole Vogel, the dance team’s coach. She said the dance team provides students with an outlet for both creativity and physical energy.

Jasmine McWilliams, a junior psychology major on the dance team, said the team is an important part of Westminster’s community as a whole.

“We bring the school spirit where it’s lacking,” she said. The dance team can often be found performing at school sporting events and its members are quick to encourage students to attend.

Talcott said she loves performing most of all, and is grateful for the opportunity to continue dancing and performing through the team.

Q: What got you into dancing?

A: My mom always pictured having a little daughter that danced despite my dad’s wishes for a softball player. As long as I can remember, I think I was 3 years old when she put me in my first ballet class and I did studio since I was 3 years old until about 14. Then I tried out for the Herriman drill team; made it. So I did that for a couple of years and then when I got to college it was like, ‘I’m not ready to leave dance,’ so, I tried out for the dance team and have been on that for two years now.

Q: Could you walk us through what your daily schedule is like with dance team practices?

A: Yeah. So, I wake up around 5:30, which is always rough. Wake up early, we all meet at practice at 6 a.m., ready to go. We’re all pretty punctual even though Wednesdays I run the practice. They treat me with just as much respect as the coach, which is really nice. We have this great mutual relationship. From there we’ll normally do a quick workout. Today we actually did some jump roping, so really anything to get our hearts pumping. From there we’ll do just a quick stretch to get our bodies ready. After that, it really depends on what we have coming up. We’ll normally do a little bit of technique across the floor; get our muscles working. We’ll do some leaps and kicks and turns. From there, we’ll dive into our dances. This year we have two dances and we’re in the process of learning our third. […] We have a lot of fun together, and we work really hard.

Q: What makes you want to keep dancing and performing?

A: Honestly, it’s become routine to me — it feels so natural. When I’m not dancing, it feels weird to me. So, I love the familiarity of it, I guess. Nothing beats performing. I love performing. I don’t know what it is: even if it’s in front of my parents or if it’s in front of a huge crowd live on TV, I think that adrenaline is so exciting. I get to go out there, surrounded by girls that I love and we’ve worked so hard together — It’s kind of a stress-reliever for me honestly. I just get to go out there and do my thing. I get to feel all that adrenaline and all that emotion.

Q: What do you think people really need to know about the dance team?

A: I would just say: come check it out. Come join us. We love meeting new people; we have people come and try it out several times a year. We do have specific tryouts at the beginning of the year, but that’s not limited. We’re always looking for more people to join and we welcome any type of skill level. We just love having people there and being able to support each other and support the school.


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Marisa Cooper is a senior communication major with a psychology minor. She hopes to find a career path within public relations or journalism with time for a mindful work/life balance. As of late, she’s been exploring passions for embroidery, hiking, house plants and podcasts. Marisa is thrilled to take on the role of managing editor this year.

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