By Julia Catalano
The Sharks dance team is a newly formed athletics team at the Ammerman Campus. In the fall of 2011, the dance team was born when students decided to collaborate with cheerleaders on campus to perform and showcase their spirit in a positive, uplifting way.
Alyssa Semken and a few other girls tried to direct the emphasis of highlighting the team name. Encouraging the college to get to know them not as a “dance club” but as the The Sharks. In the fall of 2011 the first flyers for tryouts were posted for a dance team. The cheerleading coach decided to coach a dance team as well and have the two teams perform together on some occasions. Gina Caputo is the cheerleading and dance team coach, who works with both teams on campus as well as working in the SCCC Ammerman athletic office.
Caputo coaches the girls in practice several days a week, while some days are separated between dances and cheering, and other practice meets combine the two.
“We are very lucky to have such talented girls on the team who help choreograph routines,” said Caputo.
Both the cheerleaders and dance team perform at women and men’s home basketball games (women’s games were at the Ammerman campus and men’s games at the Michael J Grant campus in Brentwood).
The dance team also did a combined performance around the holidays at the John J. Foley nursing home in Yaphank. The dance team attended both the LICCA cheer leading competition that was held at the Ammerman campus, and the Make A Wish foundation, which was also held in Selden.
The Sharks not only worked together, but they danced for a good cause.
“We helped raise a lot of money through raffles and tickets for the performance for a sick child’s trip to Disney World. Other dance teams and cheer teams from other colleges attended the Make A Wish foundation as well,” said Samantha Upshaw, dancer.
When the dance team performed they were not only competitive but, entertaining for onlookers as well. They traveled to nationals and performed at the men and women’s games for the weekend. The team performed hip-hop and jazz, but hip-hop prevailed as the crowd’s favorite.
“We had several routines with music that the crowd seemingly loved and appreciated. The crowd’s favorites were “Girls” by Beyoncé, and “Look At Me Now” by Busta Ryhmes and Chris Brown. Although the crowds were never too big at home games, we did get requests for certain dances from time to time. It made us very happy to know students enjoyed our dances and wanted to see more of us,” said Samantha Upshaw.”
At a commuter school not everyone is aware of all the sports teams and clubs the school has to offer, but joining them can really make a community college a great experience. Students who are passionate about a sport or subject can come together to create clubs and teams while showing their unity and spirit in a fun, beneficial way.