Rhinestones and pom poms: UA Pom Line cheers up campus
The members of the University of Arizona Pom Line show the community and students their passion for dancing and cheering for their school by bringing as much school spirit as possible to any place they go.
With football season quickly approaching, the Pom Line has been hard at work since early August, learning new routines and working with the Pride of Arizona band, according to Adrienne Robertson, head coach of the Arizona Pom Line.
The UA Pom Line has a team of well-rounded dancers, with each of the members having been carefully selected in the spring. The team is currently made up of 25 women, representing many states across the U.S. and many diverse backgrounds, according to Robertson.
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Auditioning for the team is a "very rigorous" process, according to Robertson. Women from across the nation come to Arizona to audition for a spot.
Auditions are held in the spring semester of the school year, usually in April, Robertson said, and anyone interested in becoming a Pom Line dancer can find out about the auditions on social media and through various other advertisements.
The auditions are a two-day process. On the first day, the women go across the dance floor and perform a combination, which might include turns and dance techniques, showing strengths as well as stage presence. At the end of day one, they will also learn a jazz-style dance routine and will have until the next day of auditions to review the choreography, Robertson said.
“During auditions we are looking for a dancer that is the overall total package — somebody that is just equally as great of a technical dancer as well as their showmanship and performance ability,” Robertson said. “They also have to retain choreography very quickly.”
The second day of auditions, the women learn a pom routine taught by a captain of the squad. The women are judged on how quickly they can pick up choreography and all-around stage presence.
After four rounds of cuts, the pom squad is trimmed down to about 30 women, all of whom will participate in interviews to allow coaches to get to know them on a more personal level. The team is announced from there, narrowing down about 100 prospective dancers to 25 women for the year's squad.
The UA Pom Line practices Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, twice a day. Its afternoon practices consist of practicing alongside the band to perfect any choreography with the live music and to practice their steps on the field, according to Chandi McCright, a senior captain on the UA Pom Line.
The UA Pom Line is also preparing for the football season with intense practices, according to McCright. The Pom Line makes appearances at Bear Down Friday pep rallies, performing and cheering along with the students on University Boulevard.
The pom dancers are required to memorize up to 30 dances. Practices consist of running through the choreography, while coaches make sure all the dancers look unified and synchronized, according to McCright.
The pom team is also involved with community/charity events throughout Tucson. Many of these appearances or performances are often televised by local news stations, according to Robertson.
“We usually do a couple different annual appearances. We do a lot of local charity walks,” Robertson said. “We’ve also done a ton of different performances. We did the Superbowl with Katy Perry a few years ago in Phoenix. There’re just so many different appearances that we do all around Southern Arizona.”
The team said they also look forward to traveling to Florida every year to attend UDA Nationals, a highly competitive competition with other major university pom teams, where the team is able to show off what routines and techniques it has been working so hard on during practices. One improvement the Pom Line hopes to make to its routine for the upcoming season is tricks.
“This season we are working on more tricks. At UDA Nationals, they are really big on standing out,” McCright said. “What makes you stand out are all those cool tricks like aerials, front and back walk-overs.”
The pom team is a "tight-knit team", forming close friendships with teammates and creating lifelong memories, according to Ellie Schroer, co-captain on the UA Pomline.
“[It’s] nothing short of amazing. It’s truly a blessing to get to dance in such big stadiums with thousands of people watching you,” Schroer said. “It’s just exhilarating every time I step out and dance on the field or basketball court.”
The UA Pom Line coach and captains said they are looking forward to the performances in the upcoming sports seasons, which include halftime performances during both football and basketball season as well as media timeouts, according to Robertson.
The squad will also be performing at an Arizona Diamondbacks game in Phoenix on September 6.
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