Vikettes showcase school spirit in a unique way

Jayne Claire Vincent, Campus Carrier asst. sports editor

Berry Vikettes perform during a halftime show. Kristen Tucker | Campus Carrier

The Berry College Vikettes is a student-led organization that performs dance routines at athletic and special events on campus. 

The Vikettes were established in 1974, and currently consist of 14 members, a smaller number compared to recent years. They have a total of five new members and nine returning after holding tryouts the second week of the school year.  

 “We are a group of students who love to dance and show school spirit”, junior Annlyn Royal said.

One thing about the team that Royal enjoys is that they are a diverse group.  

“The team doesn’t consist of just one race, and I think the music we dance to represents that really well and fits the different cultures within our group,” Royal said.

Historically the Vikettes have performed at both the men and women’s basketball game halftime shows and the Mountain Day Olympics.  While they still perform at the basketball games and Mountain Day Olympics, they began performing at football halftime shows five to six years ago.  They complement the cheer and drumline, at athletic events.  This year, the Vikettes participated in Solidarity Week by leading the Solidarity March last Friday. 

The main focus for the Vikettes is to promote school spirit through their passion for dance.

“It’s not just that we are a club and that we spontaneously show up at events,” Royal said. 

“There is hard work and dedication put into our performances. We work hard to do our best.  Even though we aren’t a sports team, we are still a team,” Royal said. 

The club practices Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. 

Head Captain senior Amber Bingham added the third day of practice this school year to add more time to work on their routines. 

“I want us to be more dedicated and definitely take more time learning the moves,” Bingham said.  

All the moves seen at events are choreographed by Bingham and Co-Captains Yana Chavez and Abby Duke.  Some of the dance moves are pulled from previous dances but the majority of the routines are new. 

The reason the team only holds practices at the beginning of the fall semester is so that the team has time to be prepared for the athletic season.  This year, the Vikettes have been learning new dances almost every week. 

When there are not back-to-back home football games, they are able to have less of a rigorous training week.  By the end of February, the dance team starts to slow down since they do not perform at athletic events other than basketball games during the spring semester.

The Vikettes only perform at home games since they are technically a student organization.  They do not travel for away games with different sports teams nor, do they competitively dance.  Rather, they support their fellow Vikings by celebrating school pride through performing at athletic events and any other special day events.  

 “They are part of the fan experience,” said Director of Student Activities and Berry Alumna Cecily Crow (94c) said. 

There are several requirements for every student organization including the dance team.  The Vikettes are required to have representation at Student Government Association (SGA) meetings throughout the year, meet a certain number of external or internal credits and complete other administrative duties.  

“They are expected to keep their Berry Connect page updated, turn in rosters and make sure their officers are present at SGA meetings,” Crow said. 

This year the Vikette officers are Bingham, Chavez and Duke, Secretary Grace Todd, and Treasurer Tomaiya Stafford. 

Along with having representation at SGA meetings, student organizations also must meet a certain number of internal or external credits.  Internal credits include volunteering or hosting events on campus.  External credits are volunteer opportunities that better the surrounding Rome area.  For internal credits, clubs must host one event per year on campus although there are some exceptions.  Since the Vikettes perform and participate often on campus they fall under the exception and do not have to host an event.  For external credits, groups can volunteer at an organization off campus of their choice.  

Student organizations must also participate in one leadership credit per semester.  Leadership workshops are often organized through student activities or through other departments.  The workshops are lectures or activities which help develop skills to lead clubs more efficiently.

Since the Vikettes are affiliated with the Student Activities Department rather than the Athletics Program, they receive funding from SGA. Crow explained that student organizations can receive funding in a few different ways. 

“If they (specific student organizations) are in good standing, they can request additional funds through the SGA,” said Crow.  

Every student pays an $88 student activities fee per semester.  Then the money goes into a budget that is allotted for student led clubs which the SGA oversees and disperses to different student organizations.  

“It’s how a lot of clubs pay for their events,” Crow said.  “The money is intended to contribute to campus vibrancy”. 

Other forms of funding are donations and fundraising.  In the past, the Vikettes have sold t-shirts as well as Halloween and Valentine grams where students pay a certain amount to have a piece of candy delivered to a friend.  This year it is possible that they might host a danceathon to fundraise. 

While uniforms are provided for by SGA, it is up to the dancers to purchase their own shoes, tights and leggings as well as anything extra they might want, which is why fundraising is so important. 

Under the supervision of Lacey Herring, the Vikettes faculty and staff sponsor, the club is led completely by students.  They run auditions, coordinate with athletics to schedule events and put in hard work to perform. 

“We are always encouraged by our peers and cheered on by the student section at games,” Bingham said.  “The Spires have also been very encouraging”. 

“They kind of have their own lane since their main association is with performing at athletic events, but they add to school spirit and entertainment,” Crow said.  “They get the crowd pumped up a little bit, they have fun with the music and enjoy watching the performers dance.  I think that their impact and value is great for promoting school spirit and entertainment at athletic events. There are so many student organizations, but they fill a certain niche and interest for students”.

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