OHIO Dance Team: COB students perform at the top of their game
Monday, June 3 2019 06:04pm
Several College of Business students participate in the OHIO Dance Team, representing Ohio University, supporting each other on and off the field.
The greatest student organizations can be those that give students the chance to bond. To grow together as people and future leaders. What brings Bobcats together can be anything — from derivates to dogs, from data to dance.
Since 1994, the Ohio University Dance Team has been a source of joy at Bobcat sporting events, putting on agile performances to excite fans and inspire players. Over the past 3 years, they have transformed themselves from a sideline only dance team into a championship level competition team, brand ambassadors for Ohio University, and the 2019 best student organization who happen to have a combined GPA of over 3.5.
The 2018-19 academic year was especially meaningful for the dancers. For the first time in Bobcat history, the OHIO Dance Team was awarded the title of 2019 University World Cup Open Division Champions when it traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete at the 2019 UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships. Several College of Business students are proud to represent the university through dance along with their squad members. The trophies are not only rewards for their performance, but they are also proof of how much effort the dancers put into their performance abilities on top of classes, clubs, and personal commitments.
“Claiming a title is an amazing accomplishment for the Ohio University Dance Team,” Dr. Andrew Pueschel, an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the College of Business and director of the OHIO Dance Team, said in a Compass article, “Our goal was to place Athens, Ohio, on the map for collegiate dance teams, and not only did this year’s team participate for the first time, they achieved recognition that will absolutely shine the spotlight on future dancing Bobcats for years to come.”
“We could not be more proud of the dedication displayed by each of these students and the national success that it has brought them,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said in the Compass article. “Furthermore, their commitment to maintaining academic excellence while working tirelessly to bring home a national championship is a testament to their individual character.”
It wouldn’t have been possible for the team to make it to the championship without the assistance of Pueschel. Since his arrival at Ohio University three years ago, he has been voted in the Top 5 Best of Professor category in the Athens News Best of The Year poll, claiming first place in the 2019 poll. Some COB squad members say Pueschel goes beyond what’s expected to support students and make sure they feel comfortable at Ohio University.
“Without his positive energy and enthusiasm constantly pushing us to strive to be a better team and better individuals, our team wouldn’t be where is it today. Not only does he want to see us gain personal growth within our organization, but he wants to make sure that we are doing well and are growing positively with our education and personal lives,” Kaylea Ellis said.
Even with the team’s recent victory, Pueschel works hard to make sure that squad members don’t let anyone else tell them what priorities should matter.
"Andrew has taught us many lessons throughout our journey, but the best piece of advice he shared with me was to compete and perform for ourselves,” Taylor Breen said. “The dance team works really hard and results in the end don’t matter, as long as we did our best and left our all on the floor.”
Nothing’s more telling of why the team deserved the award than its unwavering dedication to achieving anything they set their minds on. Below, some members of the OHIO Dance Team share how they stay on top of commitments:
“The secret to keeping a balanced, structured schedule is definitely planning ahead and writing everything down. My planner is my best tool, as I use it to plan out what I need to be doing all day, every day. It keeps me on top of my work, while reminding me what is ahead.”
—Taylor Breen, a marketing major, has kept plenty busy as vice president of marketing for COB Honors, a member of the Schey Sales Centre, a Learning Community Leader, as well as a member of the OHIO Dance Team.
“To manage all of my activities, I stay organized by making lists and delegating responsibilities. I always prioritize my school work and get ahead on all of my assignments.”
— Cayla Caviris, a management information systems and data analytics major who’s pursuing a supply chain management certificate, has forged bonds in Alpha Xi Delta and the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honors Society as well as with fellow OHIO dancers.
“Managing your time well is key to being able to balance dance, class, study, fundraising and having a social life. I fully plan each and every day to the hour to make sure everything that needs to get done, does. But more importantly, being passionate about the things you do with your life will find a time and place for everything.”
— Kaylea Ellis, a sports management major, is involved in several academic programs such as marketing and business analytics minors and a social media certificate but still finds time for Alpha Gamma Delta and the OHIO Dance Team.
”Over the many years of competitive dance, taking classes and maintaining a job, I have learned how to manage my time well. That helps me maintain a 3.9 GPA, have a job and follow my passion in this organization.”
—Hannah Hiltz, an accounting and business pre-law major prides herself on being a member of the Schey Sales Centre and a guest services and reservations assistant for OHIO Event Services in addition to her dedication to the OHIO Dance Team.
If anything’s true for the squad members, it’s that their dedication to the team on top of superb training has helped them achieve great things.
Practicing for two hours a day, five days a week during sport seasons, in 2018-19, the dance team performed at six football games in Peden Stadium and 15 basketball games in the Convo, plus additional performances at the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl in Texas, the 2018 Komen Athens Race for the Cure, at Homecoming and BobcaThon, and during the women’s basketball MAC playoff run.
Despite the demanding schedule, Hiltz enjoys participating in the organization and describes the OHIO Dance Team as “Rewarding and fun. We are constantly laughing in practice or even on the sidelines during games,” she said.
Hiltz encourages future squad members to recognize how much time and dedication the OHIO Dance Team requires. Practicing five days a week during football and basketball seasons can mean that the organization must take priority at times.
“Dance team allows me to continue pursuing my passion while furthering my academic career,” Breen said. “Dance has been a part of my life since I was two and it was something I wasn’t ready to let go of when I came to college.”
Breen, added that many of the squad members have been dancers for their entire lives. Previous dance experience is necessary to succeed on the team along with “dedication and passion for not only performing, but for the school as well.”
As a student organization, the main challenge for the dance team is raising funds to travel across the country. All of the funding comes from students’ efforts, including community fundraisers and their own monetary gifts to the team. Especially for the dance team's College of Business and Scripps College students, this fundraising challenge is an opportunity for them to exercise the leadership, strategic budgeting, planning, and communication concepts from the classroom in real life situations.
“To get new uniforms or be able to compete are like little victories for the team,” Hiltz said.
Philanthropy and giving back to the community are also a huge priority for the dance team. These outings can make squad members take notice of the bigger picture—that the organization’s importance going beyond dancing for fun. For example, Breen appreciates the youth clinics because of the influence the team has over the young participants as role models.
“It is so humbling to have little girls asking what it’s like to be on the team and just admiring all the women on the team,” Breen said. “I love giving them a positive experience dancing with us, and hopefully they join the OHIO Dance Team in the future!”
During the holiday season, the OHIO Dance Team even visited hospice patients to cheer them up with some festive dances, Hiltz said. Making not only the patients smile, but their families too, made her feel good and demonstrated the power of giving back.
The kindness and encouragement that squad members receive from each other goes beyond dance practices. Often, there are peers on the team who are in similar majors and can answer questions about classes. Breen said the team makes sure new members have a support system as they adjust to campus life.
“Being a freshman is such a challenge, having a great team of girls behind you and helping you through definitely assists in making the process easier,” she said.
The team even helps one another when a squad member is going through a personal problem, making the bonds between these women even stronger. “My teammates made sure I was okay when my grandpa passed away and were so adaptable to change dances around when I had to miss a game for his funeral,” Hiltz said.
Hard work and dedication. Striving for greatness — and achieving it. Supporting each other. Making the grades. Making others smile. It’s the OHIO Dance Team.
Article by Meghan Morris with contributions from Jim Harris and Andrew Pueschel