Pom Line dances Wildcats to victory

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Sydney Kenig | The Daily Wildcat Pride of Arizona marching band performs at the 65th annual Band Day at the University of Arizona Stadium on Saturday, October 13, 2018. The Pride of Arizona band includes over 250 members including award-winning pom line dancers.

Performing in front of thousands of people can cause one to feel anxious, sweaty, nauseous or all three.

The University of Arizona Pom Line does it every week, and the pressure is even higher as the squad gears up to dance at the biggest event of the year: Homecoming.

The Arizona Pom Line is a part of the Pride of Arizona Marching Band and exists to promote school spirit and community outreach, according to their website. However, when representing a D1 school, the dancing itself is just the beginning. 

“Being a good spokesperson is key,” said Adrienne Robertson, Pom Line coordinator and UA alumna in her 10th season of coaching. “[Pom Line members] become ambassadors for the university.”

Ellie Schroer, Arizona Pom Line’s captain, also agreed. 

“I think we pride ourselves in trying to be role models for the university,” Schroer said.

According to Schroer, the pom line spends a minimum of 20 hours of practice a week during the football season alone. With the hours of a part-time job on top of a college course load, time management is key.   

“I have a planner that I use religiously,” said Cary Casler, a freshman political science major. “That’s pretty much how I stay sane.”

Schroer encourages her team to stay on their deadlines and works on “reinforcing the importance of not wanting to be behind.” 

“I try to check up on everyone and make sure they’re doing okay,” Schroer said.

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According to Schroer, the pom line spends a minimum of 20 hours of practice a week during the football season alone. With the hours of a part-time job on top of a college course load, time management is key.   

“I have a planner that I use religiously,” said Cary Casler, a freshman political science major. “That's pretty much how I stay sane.”

Schroer encourages her team to stay on their deadlines and works on “reinforcing the importance of not wanting to be behind.” 

"I try to check up on everyone and make sure they're doing okay,” Schroer said.

According to Robertson, most of the girls come onto the team with years of technical dance training.

Schroer has been dancing since age 2, and Casler started at age three. For performers like Casler and Schroer, college is not the last stop in their dance career. 

“The Pom Line provides the training for dancers to get to the next level in an NBA or NFL dance team,” Robertson said.

Robertson listed Phoenix Suns Dancers, Los Angeles Laker Girls and Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders as common examples.

“My motivation and my whole vision for the pom line was to get as many girls to come through Arizona and go to the pros,” Robertson said. “Everything that they’re learning here can help them in their next step.”

Chandi Dayle, a UA alumna and Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, is just one of the many UA Pom Line dancers who have taken that next step.

Dayle said her relationship with the pom line coach helped her find confidence to try out for such a competitive team. 

“Adrienne [Robertson] really gave me that chance to grow … and find that inner performer in me,” Dayle said. “I think that helped me go into tryouts for Dallas and just really give it my all.”

According to Dayle, switching from a collegiate-level dance team to a professional team is challenging in its own way. 

“When you go into the pros, you’re representing so much more,” she said. “Knowing that you always have to be on is stressful, but it’s such a privilege as well.” 

RELATED: Arizona football fires defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, Chuck Cecil to take over

In the spirit of tradition, Pom Line alumni are welcomed back to the team to dance alongside current Pom Line members on the sidelines every year. Dayle is one of the many former members who are coming back for the 2019 Homecoming game on Nov. 2.

“It’s bittersweet,” Dayle said. “I feel like a proud mom or something like that. I’m just really excited to see everyone and be back in a community that I know.”

The performance aspect is part of what attracts many dancers to join, including Casler. 

“Performing and entertaining others is really what drives me, which is a big reason I wanted to try out for a college dance team,” Casler said. “Walking out onto a field with the band for pre-game and seeing the whole stadium full, it’s like no other.” 

Schroer also mentioned how the thrill of performing never dies, even for veteran dancers. 

“Arizona Stadium and McKale [Center] are the most electrifying environments I’ve ever been in,” Schroer said. “I get teary eyed every single time.”

For the pom line, the key to handling the challenges of representing a D1 university might be the bond that they share.

“We’re all really, really good friends and we’re all a big family even in the hard times,” Casler said.

According to Robertson, she learns immensely from the girls she coaches every year, and her biggest takeaway is that the experience is what you make it.

“What you put into it is what you get out of it,” Robertson said. “If you [are] in this for the right reasons to create and promote a good, happy, healthy, fun environment while doing what you love … you will get everything that you want out of it.”



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