New coach helps ‘The Blaze’ qualify for nationally televised competition
By Melissa Bear
The Flagler College dance team has undergone many positive changes this year with the addition of new Coach Nadia Ramoutar and now they’re headed to a national competition.
With a new name, “The Blaze” has become more than just the halftime entertainment during basketball games.
On their first attempt, the team qualified for the Universal Dance Association’s National Dance Team Competition in Orlando, Jan. 12-14, which will be televised on ESPN.
For the two four-year seniors and captains, Kathy Call and Meghan Daly, having the opportunity to compete in the national competition is one of the best ways the ladies could end their careers at Flagler.
“It is a great way to go out for my senior year, and to get the team started for the future,” Call said
The ladies think the addition of Ramoutar brought some of the structure, respect and discipline the team has lacked in the past.
A unique characteristic of the team is that it all of the choreography is done by the ladies on the team, which requires discipline and teamwork by all 14 dancers in addition to being open to criticism from not only their coach, but also from each other. Ramoutar tries to set a positive example, though.
“I think that women have a bad reputation for being catty and difficult or demanding,” she said. “I think the coach gets to set a tone for the team.”
“She’s really pushed us. Even when we’ve been doubting, she’s pushed us to believe in the team and each other,” Call said.
“I am really impressed at how hard these young women are working,” Ramoutar said. “There’s very little resources for the dance program because it has not been competitive in the past.”
Despite how well the season has progressed for the team, it has not been without growing pains. Even after the midseason loss of team captain Shannon Ryan, the team showed character and became closer and stronger.
“The spirit of this team is so fun and determined and dedicated,” Ramoutar said.
Prior to qualifying, the ladies decided that whether or not they qualified, this season would give them great opportunities to grow as a team and a program.
According to Daly, who has been a part of the program for four years, there have been good changes from years past.
“It’s a big, huge difference, in dedication, skill level and caring about looking good and making a team out of everyone,” she said.
Although the team is looking to the future, they are not overlooking the present. “We want to have school spirit first, and then bring that to nationals,” Daly said.
Sophomore Caroline Martin, who has been dancing for many years, feels that this is an important year for the team’s future. “I want us to be able to recruit,” she said. “I want girls to have an incentive to come here. We’re striving for this. This gives us something, because everyone will see this. Flagler is going to be on ESPN.”
The Blaze will be holding a fund raiser on Nov. 29, immediately following the women’s basketball game.