Dancing on the sidelines

It’s half time at Madison Square Garden with the Red Storm. The crowd is quiet with suspense. Suddenly, the crowd roars at the sight of St John’s Dance Team. Their hard work and dedication is shown throughout each routine displayed.

The Red Storm Dance Team has been a part of St John’s University for more than 40 years.

The team members’ backgrounds range from jazz to hip hop. Captain Roselle Carlino feels the diversity of the team invites students to join.

“We definitely look for diversity in the different dance types, and we have requirements on certain moves the dancers need to do,” she said.

As of this moment, there are 19 members on the team, of which two are male.

The dance team is always looking for new dancers each spring, who can add to the vivacious energy that the current members demonstrate during each performance.

Dancers on the team follow a strict regime, working out three times a week for three hours each day, in addition to daily work outs that last at least two-and-a-half hours.

When not dancing for St. John’s sports teams, the dance team isn’t just sitting around; they are vigorously training for their own competition, the UDA College Dance Team Championships, which is held annually in Florida.

They hold auditions within their team to gain a spot on the team for this event. The dancers going to nationals also have extra practice, even during winter break, because they need to learn the dances for both the competition and for sports teams.

Recently, in 2005, the Red Storm dance team placed third, and have since then placed seventh.

Sophomore dance team member Krystle Whitley feels being a member of the team has enhanced her college experience.

“Being on the Red Storm Dance team has given me school spirit, a sense of a campus family, commitment, organization, challenges, and helps me work with the other dancers as a team,” she said.

Christine McCarton, head coach of the dance team, has been working with the team for about eight years.

Before coming to St John’s, McCarton worked with the Dance Team at C.W. Post but moved over to St. John’s because of the drive and commitment the Red Storm Dance Team demonstrated.

“Since this is a Division I school, they do not consider the dance team as just a club, they consider it a competing sport,” said McCarton.

Thom Herits, a sophomore, is able to share his passion of dance with his peers, while getting an education at the same time.

“Dancing is my life, and I get to do it here,” said Herits.

“I have the opportunity to dance with a bunch of talented people.”