In Training: Full of Spirit

August 31, 2015

Three top collegiate dance teams

Becoming a dance major isn’t the only way to continue dancing in college. Dance teams offer jazz and hip-hop dancers an option that’s fun and social, but still demanding. The by-audition groups regularly perform at football and basketball games, do community outreach and compete with top dancers from across the nation, often working with professional choreographers and building their own dancemaking and leadership skills. —Suzannah Friscia

A UNLV Rebel Girl takes the floor at a basketball game. Photo by Daniel Ward, Courtesy University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV

: Rebel Girls

No. of members
: 25

: Pom and hip hop

: Sixteen hours of practice and three hours of strength and conditioning a week. They also focus on jazz, hip hop and flexibility during training.

Master teachers
: Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo choreograph the hip-hop routine each year, and professionals from shows on the Las Vegas strip work with the dancers. The team attends dance team professional intensives in Vegas to gather material for games.

Recent titles
: At the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the team has placed in the top five in Division 1A hip hop for the past six years, including first place in 2013, and placed in the top three in pom and hip hop for the past three years. Rebel Girls is the official dance team for the USA Olympic basketball team’s Las Vegas game, and has performed on “America’s Got Talent.”

  • UNLV offers a BFA in dance performance/choreography and a dance production and management BA.


University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN

: University of Minnesota Dance Team

No. of members
: 18

: Jazz and pom

: Practice is three to four nights a week, with extra rehearsals before sporting events or Nationals. Turn and leap technique, ballet and strength training are also incorporated into practice.

Master teachers
: Karl Mundt, owner and director of Innovate Dance, and choreographer Dan Sapp set the team’s jazz and pom routines.

Recent titles
: UMDT took first in Division 1A pom for the past six years, and has nine Division 1A jazz titles. It has represented as Team USA Dance at the International Cheer Union World Cheerleading Championship in Orlando twice.

  • University of Minnesota offers a BFA and a BA in dance.


University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

UC Dance Team

No. of members:

Pom and hip hop

Three to four days of practice per week—more during Nationals season. Ballet, contemporary, strength training and conditioning are also incorporated.

Master teachers:
Guests like Josh Ulep and Liam Soares, from the Academy of Hype and The Headquarters in Honolulu, and commercial artist Laura Edwards have set hip-hop routines.

Recent titles:
The team has six Division 1A hip-hop national titles. It’s also won gold in pom, jazz and hip hop at the International Cheer Union World Cheerleading Championship, and has competed in China.

  • University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music offers a BFA in ballet.