Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tiphanie McNiff comes to Fresno State to coach new dance team
By Erin O'Brien
By Erin O'Brien
As the director of the marching band, Timothy Anderson sat at the 2008 bowl game and marveled at the production Colorado State University put on. As their marching band performed, the band was flanked by a colorful and enticing dance team.
“Colorado State had 20 girls on the team and it added a whole lot of flair to what they were doing,” Anderson said. “They really stood out.”
Anderson said he had been looking to improve the Fresno State marching band half-time shows, but didn’t know exactly what to do, but that when he saw this he knew it was the perfect option.
“It [the dance team] just added so much to their show,” Anderson said. “We wanted to make it more entertaining and with this addition, if it goes well, we’d like to add more entertainment every year.”
Once the idea was in place, Anderson got in contact with Raiders cheerleader Tiphanie McNiff, a Fresno native and offered her the job as the dance team head coach.
“Tim contacted me and I was very excited about the idea of coaching again,” McNiff said. “Our ultimate goal is to eventually establish a dance team that can compete in college dance competitions.”
According to Anderson, the dance team will be offered as a one-unit class and will go under the marching band umbrella. Auditions are open to all Fresno State students, as well as students from other institutions like Fresno City College and Reedley College. All non-Fresno State students will have to enroll at the university through the Continuing and Global Education extension program.
Wanted: Versatile quick studies
Aside from cheering for the Raiders for the past year, McNiff said she is a San Jose State University student and has competed in dance competitions for 16 years. She has also been a coach for the last five years at various Fresno dance studios and schools.
McNiff said that it’s very important to get this new dance team off to a great start and has specific ideas about what she is looking for as far as team members.
“I’m looking for talented, hard-working women,” McNiff said. “I need girls that show spirit, have class and are a good representation for Fresno State.”
Dancers with experience and the ability to learn routines quickly are also essential.
“I want dancers to show versatility, meaning they have training in things like hip-hop, jazz and lyrical,” McNiff said.
Depending on the size of the turnout at the auditions, McNiff said she is going to take somwhere between 13 and 25 dancers. These dancers will be performing along with the marching band at all Fresno State home football games, the Sierra Cup Classic and men’s and women’s basketball games.
The new dance team already has a sponsor, D.A. Designs, a local dance and professional cheer uniform company. Because of this sponsor, all uniforms will be provided, but each dancer will have to purchase their own shoes.
Auditions for the team
An open clinic and information session will be held Saturday, Feb. 28 in the South Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. An audition application, including two letters of recommendation and a recent individual photo is requested to be turned in to the band office, room 138 in the music building, prior to the clinic
• The clinic is mandatory for all applicants and dance material for the next week’s auditions will be learned during this session.
• Applicants will have the opportunity to have all their questions answered at this clinic
• Applicants are asked to wear something comfortable to dance in.