Halftime, we’re told, is a time to relax. Athletes lumber off of the field and head to the locker room to lick their wounds before the second half. Fans get up to grab a snack and go to the bathroom. At Colorado College, however, things work a little differently. On Friday, April 24, as the men’s lacrosse team finished up the first half against Whittier College, the announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeakers, “please welcome CC’s very own Tiger Eyes dance team.” “Tiger” sounds more like “Tiiiiiiiger,” but you get the point. This was a CC halftime, full of choreographed excellence, rather than a trip to the concession stand for popcorn or a hot dog. Tiger Eyes proceeded to perform in front of a packed house at Washburn Field and received some of the loudest cheers of the evening.
Tiger Eyes is currently finishing up its second year back in action at Colorado College. Previous to the 2013-14 school year, the team had gone defunct due to a lack of dancers interested in the team. However, juniors Taylor Steine and Zita Toth set out to resurrect the program during their freshman year. Steine and Toth spent their freshmen years working on setting up a structure for the team and officially launched the team in 2013.
Zita Toth, who currently serves alongside Steine as team captain, said, “Our main challenges were first getting a group of dedicated people together that were invested in the idea of a dance team at CC, and then more logistical challenges such as figuring out our performance schedule.” Tiger Eyes has flourished this season, bringing their number of dancers to 13, with five freshmen on the squad.
Julia Terman, who is a sophomore member of the team, echoed Toth’s sentiment. “Building the team from scratch was challenging,” she said. “Because we are new, we have had to put in work to get our name around campus and look into performance opportunities.” This year, the team performed at a variety of CC sporting events including basketball and lacrosse games.
Following the team’s inaugural year, Toth and Steine aimed to grow the team this year, the team’s second official year on campus. The team is now larger and is gaining prominence on campus, but there are numerous advantages to having a big team. “This year we have a bigger group of dancers with more diverse interests who all bring different qualities to the group,” said Terman.
Toth also spoke on the advantages of a bigger 2014-15 squad. “We have more younger dancers, which provides us with great perspective and energy. More dancers in a way also allows us for more creative freedom when coming up with dances to perform.”
While the captains handled all of the choreography in the team’s first year, other member have been stepping up. “This past year, with more performances, we’ve been able to have other members of the team choreograph dances,” said Toth.
According to Toth, the captains “work to schedule practices, performances, and make sure that the team is all on the same page and updated with day-to-day information.” The team is also supported by faculty advisor and French professor, Alistaire Tallent.
When watching Tiger Eyes perform, the team’s chemistry is readily apparent. Arms, legs, and bodies move in unison to the rhythm of the song. The cohesiveness so obvious during Tiger Eyes’ performances extends outside the world of dance as well. Terman said, “Some of my favorite moments are when we have been goofing around and just having fun.”
“Some of my favorite moments are from outside the studio, like when we do team meals together or hang out outside of dance,” said Toth. “It’s great that our bond carries beyond just dancing together.”
Many members of the team have experience performing in high school, and the lack of a team at CC inspired both Steine and Toth to replicate their stellar high school experience at CC. “Performing is one of my favorite things because it’s such an adrenaline rush,” said Toth. “It’s great to be able to show off something that you have worked on for weeks or for months and then to have people respond in a positive way.”
The team has big plans for the 2015-16 season. While Tiger Eyes will continue to build name recognition on campus, they are also looking to take their show onto the ice at the Broadmoor World Arena. In addition to a performance at a hockey game, the team will look to refine choreography and technique. “No matter how much we have improved, there is still room to grow,” said Terman.
For the time being, Tiger Eyes will continue their pursuit of making halftime one of the most exciting parts of any CC sporting event. In the words of junior captain Taylor Steine, Tiger Eyes will continue to do what it has always done: “entertain the masses.”