UR Royals, the pom squad established this spring, fuses ballet technique, jazz, and hip-hop dance together, all while keeping a pom in hand to add a sense of school spirit to the choreography—and the rest of campus as well.
“This is a place where girls support each other, help each other as a dance community, and keep the team spirit alive,” senior and team captain Anqesha Murray said. She conceived the idea of starting a new dance team last summer.
Murray, UR Royals president and junior Michelle Koduah, and co-captain and junior Maia Peters, are the team’s founders.
They thought they could come together every week to practice dance. Little did they realize that becoming an officially recognized dance team would be a completely different ballgame. Even apparently trivial arrangements, such as booking a room on campus for practice, requires the team to be registered with the University.
“I have never been more proud of any accomplishment that I have achieved,” Koduah said when asked how she feels after UR Royals celebrated its first (unofficial) anniversary.
Koduah mentioned that they have a long scramble ahead since they are not yet eligible to receive funds from the University. But they are hopeful that things will change as soon as they become more popular on campus.
“We are not a cheerleading team […],” Murray said. “We are a pom squad, which means we occasionally use pom poms in our dance routines.”
Most of the routines performed by UR Royals incorporate elements of jazz, hip-hop, and ballet. So far, they have performed in one of last year’s basketball games and the two most recent activities fairs. They want to participate in school competitions, so the group recently hired a new coach, and they are looking forward to doing more complex dance routines.
For now, the team has eight members, but they expect to grow. They have created three new positions on their executive board—event coordinator, publicity chair, and business manager—to increase member involvement.
Recruitment is only through auditions, but Koduah, Murray, and Peters emphasized that professional training is not a prerequisite. Koduah admitted that she is not well-acquainted with jazz and ballet, so she would not require that from the students who come for auditions.
“This is a small team, and the most important criteria for joining […] is to have team spirit and the ability to connect with the existing members,” Murray said.
Auditions were held in the first week of class this semester, and UR Royals recruited two new members. They will perform in a dance competition organized by UR Cheerleading next spring.