Monday, March 03, 2008
Setting the Floor on Fire
By Rachel Shuster
The New England Surge Football team isn’t the only thing electrifying the field. Introducing the Power Surge Dancers, Surge’s own dance team. Although the team started out with more of a cheering vibe, new director Karen Chevalier has given the team a “dancing spin”….no pun intended! “It is more dance oriented now,” Chevalier says. A veteran dancer herself, Chevalier describes the team as “…technically trained dancers. These are dancers who have been dancing since they were smaller.”
The Power Surge Dancers perform at every home game as well as making various appearances around Central MA. The non-competitive team has participated in and appeared at the Polar Plunge, Worcester Sharks games, the Special Olympics, The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, city-wide little league games and a promotion with Toys-R-Us. “We do a lot of community things,” Chevalier says.
After two rounds of auditions in January and February, the team consists of about 10 female dancers, who are the required 18 years of age or older. The group is a mix of those who are new and those who have been with the team from the start.
Twenty-two year old Amanda Karalus is excited to be a new edition to the team this season. “The auditions were nerve-racking, but it felt good,” Karalus says. A dancer since she was little, Karalus has taught for six years at Sally McDermott Dance Center. To stay in shape, she mostly dances. “I try to go to the gym, but I teach hip hop and jazz too.” Karalus comments on eating healthy by saying, “I used to eat whatever, but now I try to watch what I eat. Body image is hard, you just have to eat right and exercise.”
Another new edition, twenty-four year old Jamie Cantillon, is thrilled to be on the team. Ever since her dance teacher forced the shy Cantillon to get on stage at a recital when she was younger, Cantillon has loved dancing. “It was the best thing she could have done for me,” she says. On what it takes to be a dancer, she says, “You have to have technique, yes, but also personality, energy…you have to be able to get out there and get people going.” She stays fit by keeping up with tumbling, occasional weights at the gym, and doing crunches and push ups in the dance classes she teaches.
Kymberly Young, in her second year with Surge, also expresses her excitement for another great season. The twenty-two year old grew up cheering in Western MA, but says dance is “…more [my] thing. It’s in me to be a performer. You never stop learning.” Dancing with Surge has given her confidence, which she says is a must. “You have to get in front of 3000 to 6000 people sometimes. You also need perseverance and time-management.” Young occasionally goes to the gym and states that she was in “…the best shape last year because of Surge.”
Practices and training for the Surge dancers provide them with a nice work out. “Practices are held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7pm-10pm. The dancers take it like dance class. We start with warm ups, things across the floor then start working on routines,” Chevalier says. There is no special regiment for training, but the dancers do focus on stretching and conditioning, as well as ab and arm work. “Bally’s Gym is one of our sponsors, so we are always welcome to use the gym,” she adds.
The dancers are definitely expected to stay fit, but also healthy. “You have to make sure you can still wear the uniform,” Chevalier says lightheartedly. You can find the dancers in a halter and shorts two-piece on game day for a performance, or a tank top and black pants for another look. “We alternate uniforms, mix and match,” she says.
Chevalier conveys that being a Power Surge dancer is a wonderful experience for anyone on the team. “This is just a bonus for them. It looks nice on their resumes for jobs, etc. Definitely come check out the game, and check us out!”
Get your “power surge” and contact Karen Chevalier at 508-791-6373, visit www.newenglandsurge.com, or email email@example.com