Surrounded by the love of dance


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

At “Band Day” last semester, the Lionettes and Spirit of the Southland Marching Band and Colorguard taught a halftime routine to high school students for the first football game of the season. The Lionettes performed “House of the Rising Sun” as part of the pregame for every home football game.

The university’s official dance team, the Lionettes, spent last semester dancing three hours a day for three days a week in order to gain and maintain their skills, and over the winter break, they moved to practicing most days from three to 12 hours.

Despite the schedule, Lionette Kamryn Chambers feels proud to belong to the nationally ranked team, which won first place in the 2018 Universal Dance Association Dance Team National Championships in the division I hip hop category. Chambers explained that being in a team of dedicated girls enjoying the same passion makes being a Lionette worth it.

“I’ve been dancing since I was 2 years old,” said Chambers. “It’s something I really, really love to do, and those girls and the coach and the programs make all of it worth it. They have such a good program.”

Lionette Zyria Guillory also loves to dance. After taking a year off to focus on her studies, Guillory “missed dance quite a bit” and wound up trying out for the Lionettes in May of 2017.

After making the cut, Guillory has not looked back. She explained why she enjoys being a Lionette.

“As a collegiate level dancer, I have improved as an individual dancer and have grown so much mentally,” shared Guillory. “Because of Lionettes, I was able to realize that my teammates are more than just girls I see every day, but are my sisters who have gone through pretty much everything with me. It’s just fascinating to be a part of a group of people who all share the same passion for the same goal.”

Guillory intends to stay with the Lionettes throughout her collegiate career and looks forward to meeting the new recruits who will join the team. She explained the requirements to join.

“Requirements for a Lionette would be to have prior dance training with basic hip hop, jazz and technique skills,” said Guillory. “The most important requirement is having school spirit. You have to be very prideful of where, who and what you’re representing as a member of Lionettes.”

According to Catherine Messenger, director of spirit, success on tryout day can be helped by “being well-rounded in all the technical parts of dance but also having a good game day knowledge” and knowing how to manage time, work with the community, and talk with past students, donors and sponsors.

Guillory believes that optimism and a driven mindset will give a dancer an upper hand. She offered advice for students interested in becoming Lionettes.

“Be very open minded,” said Guillory. “Come in with a positive mindset because we are going to have open arms to new people coming in. We want them to know that fresh minds are good, and we want them to not shy away from anything challenging or new. It’s all going to be pretty hard, but no matter what your technical ability and previous training, it’s important to try.”