Park University’s dance group encourages sisterhood and school spirit.

Victoria Olaleye, Editor

Crimson Dancers is more than just Park University’s dance group. It is an organization that thrives on sisterhood.

In an email, Kierra Taylor, Crimson Dancers captain said, “The Crimson Dancers stand on the principle of sisterhood to not only provide our members support, comfort and encouragement but to also make our organization a place where a student can find a home and a family.”

Sophomore member and early childhood education major Jazmine Minor said the group members are like a family. They can share their struggles with and feel supported.

“It’s more like a group you can depend on,” said member Maria Amisi, a sophomore and nursing major. “If you have a problem or if you’re in need of something, you can always count on them for help.”

 This organization is one that promotes physical fitness as well as school spirit. The team performs at basketball games, Get on Board day and the Homecoming pep rally. A big accomplishment for the dancers was being able to perform at a KC Comets match during halftime in 2019.

“That was the first time we performed at a big-league sport team outside of Park University,” Taylor said.

Several members reflected on how their social lives at Park changed after joining the group, especially how they became more involved and made friends. Minor heard about Crimson Dancers via Instagram during her freshman year when she was actively looking for organizations to be a part of.

“I was already new on campus, and I wanted to get involved,” Minor said

Amisi has noticed that she’s made more friends and has developed her dancing skills since she joined the group.

Taylor said she was having a hard time bonding with people as a freshman commuter student when she started at Park, but she met the previous captain at the school’s activities fair and was invited to join the team.

“I joined the team, and I loved it, stayed, and now it’s my third year on the team, and I became the captain and get to prolong the legacy,” Taylor said.

Prior to joining Crimson Dancers, she had danced on the Pantherettes drill team for all three years she attended Eastern Hills Middle School in Texas.

“I loved it and was determined to become a better dancer so I stayed all three years,” Taylor said

Joining Crimson Dancers has been a part of Taylor’s identity at Park, as students who initially meet her are able to recognize her as a member.

Minor said even though she had been dancing since high school and attended studio classes, she was drawn to the group to learn different styles.

“I was only doing hip hop, and I wanted to maybe experience the other dances that I haven’t done before,” Minor said.

Minor enjoys practice but loves the performing even more. She enjoys dressing up to perform and showcasing what the team has rehearsed to people.

“I’m used to the performance part,” Minor said.  Amisi enjoys both and said, “We can’t perform well if we do not practice well.”

This semester, the group has only performed at the Homecoming pep rally but have more performances scheduled as the basketball season approaches. They are holding a fundraiser for their majorette costumes from Oct. 18 to  Oct. 29 in front of Thompson Commons Student Center. Lollipops in Halloween themed wrappers are sold for $1, and this money goes into their costume budget.

Members of Crimson Dancers at the fundraiser table outside Thompson Commons Student Center.

The group also hosts an annual spring showcase. For this event, they perform all the dances performed during halftimes and any new routines. There is no set date for the next showcase yet.

The Crimson Dancers hold tryouts for undergraduate students interested in joining. This consists of three clinical days where two routines are taught: jazz and hip hop. They also conduct interview questions to see if students are a good fit for the team. That includes asking questions about sisterhood, fitness and school spirit. This is necessary to promote their goals of physical fitness and supporting Park athletics.

They also have walk-in tryouts and practices in Labor Hall during the week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Students who are interested can reach out to the captain or attend the practices, as there are no requirements.

Crimson Dancers is looking for students who are willing to join them and be a part of a team that promotes school spirit at Park.