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Q&A with senior Uma Kalluparambil and junior Liviya Sharp on dancing as a sport

The+Coquettes+practice+on+in+the+main+cafeteria+on+Jan+26.+Liviya+Sharp%2C+Coquette+dancer+and+junior%2C+said%2C+I+feel+like+%28the+goal%29+of+every+sport+is+to+practice+and+get+good+at+something+and+then+you+showcase+it+somehow+whether+its+playing+in+a+game+or+presenting+it+to+an+audience.+I+consider+it+a+sport+for+that+reason.
Safiya Ilmudeen
The Coquettes practice on in the main cafeteria on Jan 26. Liviya Sharp, Coquette dancer and junior, said, “I feel like (the goal) of every sport is to practice and get good at something and then you showcase it somehow whether it’s playing in a game or presenting it to an audience. I consider it a sport for that reason.”

Liviya Sharp, Coquettes member and junior

What is your position on the Coquettes?

We don’t really have positions on the (Coquettes); I’d say it’s all just a group effort. However, there are no seniors, so the juniors are considered the leaders.

How did you start dancing?

My sister, who is three years older than me, was on the Coquettes all four years of high school. So, when she was a senior, I was a freshman, so I tried out (and we were on the team together) for that one year and then I’ve just been on (the team) ever since.

Would you consider dancing a sport?

Yes, I think it’s a sport because we practice and perform. I feel like (the goal) of every sport is to practice and get good at something and then you showcase it somehow whether it’s playing in a game or presenting it to an audience. I consider it a sport for that reason.

What are the similarities and differences between participating in a sport that competes versus that which performs?

For dance, we come up with the choreography and then we practice that choreography and then we perform what we already know. For other sports, you go to practice to condition and do drills. Then, when it comes to the actual game, there’s no set plan and you go with the flow of the game. (I like dance) because you go out and know what you’re going to do.

Where do you perform?

The women’s and men’s varsity basketball games; we perform at halftime.

How many performances do you have this season?

It can be (from) eight to 10 performances. This year, collectively as the juniors we chose to do eight performances. But, recently we had to cancel one of them because a lot of people couldn’t (come).

Do you wish the Coquettes went to external competitions?

Yes and no. If we went to competitions, then it would be harder to compete with my other dance team, outside of school. It wouldn’t let me be as flexible with my outside competition team.

What does a typical practice look like?

It depends on what part of the season we’re on. At the beginning (of the season), we either take the practice to choreograph dances since we choreograph our own dances, so we’ll split up into groups to do that. Some days we just teach other group members a section of the dance.

What does a typical performance day look like?

It depends if we decide to do a team dinner or not. We kind of just decide the day before to see if people are available. Then we practice thirty minutes before (the game) to go over the dance a couple times. Then we go down and sit and wait until halftime.

How do you decide what music to dance to?

Everyone just comes to practice and gives songs (suggestions). There’s no routine to it, we just bring whatever we feel like would work. I feel like most of the songs we dance to, people know of.

Uma Kalluparambil, president and founder of Bollywood Dance Club and senior

How did you get into Bollywood dancing?

I started learning classical Bharatanatyum dance at the age of six; I always enjoyed it because I made a lot of new friends and because I got to do something I really like while being active. Later on, I realized I also had a passion for Bollywood dance because my old teacher really showed me what exactly Bollywood dance was and I was intrigued. It was a way to express in a more modern way compared to Bharatanatyum.

Would you consider Bollywood dance a sport?

To be honest, I think dancing is a sport because you’re moving your body and you’re doing something you love. It’s not exactly a football, soccer kind of sport, but it’s more of an aerobic sport.

How does dancing differ from other sports you’ve played?

I used to play basketball for CHS and it was intensive as we used to do so many workout regimes specific to basketball to train. For dance, it’s more of a free flowing sport that comes to you, so whenever I want to listen to a song I just put my headphones on and just feel the music throughout my body; it kind of just guides me. (Dancing) is more personal to me because it’s an expression of who I am.

Have there been any challenges the club has faced?

The main challenge people face when it comes to dancing in general is that they feel like they can’t. In reality, everyone can dance and the main excuse I hear from my friends and people who are too scared to join is that they feel like they can’t dance because they don’t want to embarrass themselves. When in reality, dancing brings a tight knit community and an environment where you can express yourself. Everyone can dance, that’s my main motto.

Does the club participate in any external competitions?

Not necessarily any competitions, but we do perform. Honestly, we were planning to do a competition based program for Bollywood Dance Club, but we don’t have enough funding or materials for that. Hopefully, we can (compete) next year.

Where do you perform?

We do performances for other clubs, primarily A5 and South Asian Culture Club.

What does a typical practice look like?

We either meet in the Freshman Cafeteria or Mrs. Bellotti’s room or in the community room. We do stretches first because stretching your body is super important, so we stretch and do some physical exercise. We really get everyone excited to be there. Then after that, we split into groups to go over and teach dances.

The Coquettes practice their dance routine in the main cafeteria on Jan 26. Liviya Sharp, Coquette and junior, said, “For dance, we come up with the choreography and then we practice that choreography and then we perform what we already know. For other sports, you go to practice to condition and do drills. Then, when it comes to the actual game, there’s no set plan and you go with the flow of the game. (I like dance) because you go out and know what you’re going to do.” (Safiya Ilmudeen)
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