Harvard's cheerleading dance squad, the Crimson Dance Team, is preparing to compete at next month's National Collegiate Competition with the highest seed in the team's history.
The dance-off, held yearly by the National Dance Alliance in Daytona Beach, Fla., pits 70 collegiate teams against each other.
Each squad performs a lively, two-minute routine that incorporates three different styles of dance--jazz, pom and funk.
Harvard's own 12-member, all-female team enters the competition seeded third based on a short dance video they filmed for the competition this fall.
Since the group's founding in 1995, the dance team had never been ranked higher than the 12th seed before this year.
"We have been working really hard, and I think we have gotten a lot better over the course of this year," said Kimberlee R. Garris '01, the team's co-captain. "I am really confident about our chances."
The team has had to overcome unique obstacles.
"Most of the other teams have a lot more money and resources," Garris said. "We don't even have a coach."
Instead, the dance team dedicates themselves to perfecting their craft, regularly performing at both the men and women's basketball games and at several Harvard shows during the course of the year. They spend long hours practicing, taking lessons and working out together.
This year, the team took their performance to a new level by hiring a professional choreographer and music mixer to help them perfect their moves.
At nationals, team members hope to finish at least tenth in their division, which would allow them to perform their routine in the final round, to be televised on CBS and ESPN.