Each spring, the Purdue Dance Team of West Lafayette takes a break from studying and heads to the shores of Daytona Beach, Fla. to compete against top college dance teams from across the country in the National Dance Alliance College Dance Championship.
This year, the team placed second in the Division 1A Open performing a jazz routine, the highest placement since the team’s competitive inception.
The squad is comprised of 22 dancers, 10 of which reside in Northwest Indiana. Once high school rivals at local competitions, dancers from Crown Point, Lake Central and Munster pooled their talents to create an alliance of top dancers.
The PU team was founded in 1968 as a large spirit group and has emerged as an elite performance and competitive team. The team has enjoyed many identities: the “Pep Squad,” the “Pepsters,” and the “Boiler Babes.” Regardless of their title, the team continues to promote Purdue spirit.
Kevin Mathis, artistic director/owner of M2 Dance Center in Schererville, coaches the Purdue Dance Team. He is also the president and founder of the Indiana High School Dance Team Association and dance director of the Lake Central High School Centralettes.
The Purdue Dance Team routine was choreographed by Bri Lakomy of M2 Dance Center.
"You will find the team performing on the sidelines and cheering on the Boilermakers at every home Purdue football game, select basketball games, philanthropic and community events," said team member Alyssa Bizoukas, of Munster.
The team practices three times per week, and more frequently during competition season, all while pursuing degrees in nursing, engineering, education, accounting, health sciences, pharmacy, management and business.
Kayla Thompson, of Bloomington, and Bizoukas, a 2011 graduate of Munster High School, were named team captains for the 2013-14 season. Tryouts are held annually in the spring.