Aristocat dancers are expanding their horizons

Open tryouts are being held for upcoming basketball season


Last year’s Aristocat Dance Team. Photo courtesy of Alasyn Barwick

Morgan Stough, Staff Writer

The Wayne State Aristocat dancers are looking to expand their horizons and grow as a team in the coming years, said team captain Kira Hannon.

The non-competitive club dance team currently has a humble foundation in recreational dancing, but the dancers have their eyes set on something bigger.

“I think becoming a competitive team is something that future teams will be working towards, just because it’s a little late in the game for the current team,” said Hannon. “The younger girls on the team are working to better themselves so they can make that happen for future teams.”

Hannon attributes the newfound goal-oriented attitude to the personalities of her team members.

“In the past, everyone has been really fun but super laid back. This year we have a lot of people who want to do new things and get to a level where we can eventually compete,” she said. “They want to be able to show what our team is capable of. In past years it’s been a lot more laid back and this year we have goals and want to achieve more as a team.”

Until the Aristocats can begin actively working toward their goal of becoming a competitive collegiate dance team, they are busy focusing on the current football season and the upcoming basketball season.

The team dances with the Wildcat marching band during the halftime show at football games, as well as providing spirit on the sidelines. In the winter, they perform alone at the men’s and women’s basketball games.

Inspiration for their choreography and music choices comes from various places, according to Hannon.

“Unfortunately when it comes to the band season, we don’t necessarily get to choose the song we dance to,” she said. “Lucky for us, Dr. David Bohnert (the band director) usually gives us a really fun song to dance to.”

This year the dance team joins the band’s alternative rock themed show for the third piece. They dance to Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”

“At first we were kind of like, ‘how do we dance to this?’ But then we listened to it closer and we listened to Stevie Wonder’s original version and we really felt that jazziness to it and used that as our inspiration when we choreographed,” Hannon said.

Basketball season gives the dancers more freedom in the types of dances they get to perform.

“We get to choose our own songs, we get to do whatever dances we want. We usually do some jazz dances, some pom dances, and then we always have a lot of fun with hip hop,” she said.

The Aristocats are also planning a dance clinic for young girls in the Wayne community to experience a day on the dance team as well as joining them for a performance at a basketball game. The team’s goal is simply to share their love for dancing with the kids.

“My favorite part of Aristocats is the fun I have dancing. We’re there because we love to dance and have a passion for telling a story through our bodies,” Hannon said. “We want to bring in girls from the community and show them how fun dancing is.”

In preparation for basketball season, the Aristocats will have open tryouts in the upcoming week. Tryouts will take place in the REC Center, but the date and times are to be announced. Hannon says that attitude and heart will be worth more than talent in the auditions.

“We don’t really care where you’re at as long as you’re willing to learn and willing to work and achieve some goals for yourself,” she said. “We’re perfectly happy helping you achieve those goals and we’re totally willing to share our passion for dancing.”