Club sports highlight: Vitality Dance

Katie LaDuke, Staff Reporter

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Many students already know about the new Grizzly Motion in athletics, but there is also another team dancing its way into the hearts of Oakland University fans. Vitality Dance has been a recreation and competition club sport dance team at Oakland since 2011.

Vitality covers almost every style including hip-hop, contemporary, jazz, ballet, pom and tap.

“We have a variety of dances,” President Emily Heckathorn said. “It’s really whatever the girls want to do.”

For many members, performing with Vitality is a continuation of a lifelong love for dance after having spent years at a studio or on a high school’s team. Some girls started when they were just two years old.

Even if an interested student has no experience with dance, all are welcome to come out. Tryouts are run by Vitality’s executive board and are judged based on technique, emotions, flexibly, ability to perform and attitude toward dance.

“Your attitude has to be really good because if you come to practice and you’re all down then it just sets up for a bad day,” first year member Megan Ritz said. “Obviously, technique is very important, but most of it is just having fun. You could have no experience and still be good.”

Just how athletic’s spirit squad performs at home games, Vitality also performs at all of the home games for men’s club rugby and club football. The team also makes appearances at two competitions per year, participates in local parades and puts on an annual showcase.

The biggest competition Vitality travels to every year is at the University of Michigan. It is put on by the Universal Dance Association where both high schools and colleges compete. The ladies of Vitality have made a name for themselves, and it can be seen by looking at the numerous first place trophies lining the shelves of the club sports’ trophy case on the upper level of the University Rec Well.

However, Vitality Dance did not become a winning competition team overnight. Over the past few years, the team has grown from single digits to 39 members.

“My favorite memory with the team has basically just been becoming a family,” Vice President Dakota Vansicklen said. “It’s such a big change, and there’s a couple of girls on the team that have been there from the start. I can honestly call them my family.”

Collaborating with choreography is also a major component for the team. Any member willing to teach has the opportunity to. Members strive to support each other and make sure every voice is heard.

“Last year I choreographed a hip-hop dance, and it was probably my favorite hip-hop dance that I have ever choreographed,” member Liz Pecoraro said. “We won first place, and I cried a little bit on the inside. I was so happy.”

It is clear that the ladies of Vitality are excited to dance this year, but the team offers much more than just dancing. Members can get a taste of leadership while making lasting friendships and doing what they love.

“I knew Vitality was the place for me,” Pecoraro said. “I have truthfully met my best friends through Vitality. I know they’ll be here for life.”