JC going dancingCompetitive dance is a growing sport in the NAIA. Jamestown College has decided to join the party. Starting this fall, the school will offer competitive dance, and they’ve already found the person to lead the new program in Kimberly Williams, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., who has a master’s degree in dance.
Competitive dance is a growing sport in the NAIA. Jamestown College has decided to join the party.
Starting this fall, the school will offer competitive dance, and they’ve already found the person to lead the new program in Kimberly Williams, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., who has a master’s degree in dance.
“Dance is my life. It’s what I went to school for,” said the 24-year-old Williams, who was a part of Lindenwood University’s 2008 national championship team. “It’s a big undertaking, but I’m ready to under take it. Everybody has been very supportive here at the college and we’re looking forward to building a strong, competitive team.”
Williams plans to begin auditions for the team in May, and in a best-case scenario, would have them ready to perform in August. National competitions, which is the ultimate goal, probably are a year or so away, but are definitely part of the future. They will actively recruit and offer scholarships and ultimately want to compete in the national championships, which are held in Orlando, Fla., in January, and televised nationally.
In the mean time they will perform at football and basketball games and other regional events.
The ideal number of student-athletes for the team would be between 20-24 members. Currently, between 50 and 60 NAIA institutions field competitive dance teams.
As was the case with women’s wrestling when it was added in 2008, Jamestown College is trying to bring more student-athletes to campus. But unlike women’s wrestling, there is robust popularity in and around the area.
“There aren’t a lot of other programs in our immediate area that offer this, but there’s no denying the popularity of competitive dance in and around our area,” JC athletic director Lawrie Paulson said. “Under Kimberly’s leadership, this is something that has the potential to really take off.”
Williams is already in town and working on campus. She’s actively recruiting and plans to travel the area making the pitch for Jamestown College and its newest athletic offering.
Williams earned her master’s degree from Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management Master of Fine Arts program.
“There’s great interest in dance from kids in and around this area,” Williams said. “But it’s also important that we find kids that are a good fit academically because that ultimately is why they are coming. We want them to be successful in dance, but also in the class room.”
Like all JC athletic programs, Williams will recruit much of the country, with contacts already established in Montana, Washington, Minnesota, South Dakota, Arizona, Oregon and Texas. But North Dakota also is fertile ground with 26 competitive clubs in existence.
“We know the interest is out there in dance, now we have to get publicity for our program and get things up and running,” Williams said. “I feel really good about the potential we have here and I’m excited about the future.”
Paulson said they have the right person in charge.
“Kimberly is a very impressive lady with considerable experience as a competitor, with great academic credentials,” he said. “I expect her to take the program and run with it.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org