BYU Cougarettes a combination of inspiration and hard work

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    By NATE MATHIS

    Nate@newsroom.byu.edu

    When Jodi Maxfield, artistic director of the BYU Cougarette Dance Team, holds auditions each year she said she relies a lot on inspiration to make her final decisions.

    This inspiration has helped her assemble a team that has been named the NCAA Collegiate National Dance Team Champions for the past three years.

    The BYU Cougarettes will display their talents this week at their annual Showcase.

    “Most people see us on the football field dancing to the fight song and they don’t really think we can dance,” said Shaundee Pay, 21, a junior from Sandy, majoring in Communications. “The Showcase gives us an opportunity to show that we can compete with the strongest teams in the nation.”

    Pay, who is one of the two dance captains, is the only member of the team that has been there for all three national titles. Her older sister was also a Cougarette and her younger sister is on her high school dance team.

    “It’s kind of like a family business,” Pay said.

    She said that her parents bought 56 tickets for family and friends to come watch her perform this week.

    Mikelle Nyborg, 20, a sophomore from Centerville, majoring in fitness and wellness management, also comes from a family with a dance background. Her mom was on the dance teams at Ricks College and Utah State University. She said her mom started putting her into dance classes early and she has been dancing ever since.

    “There was a time when I had to sit back and ask myself if I was dancing for her or for me,” Nyborg said. “That was a big turning point in my dancing career, because I realized I was doing it for me.”

    Maxfield said the Showcase will give the Cougarettes an opportunity to preview this year’s national dance routine as well as demonstrate a variety of dance styles and numbers. Some of the dance styles that will be displayed are jazz, modern and ballet.

    Ten Cougarettes have returned from last year’s team and six are newcomers. All but one of the dancers is from Utah. They will try to defend their national championship for the fourth time next month in Daytona Beach, Fla.

    Pey said it gets harder each year to win the national championship.

    “Being the national champions we have to raise our level of competitiveness each year,” she said. “We always go into the competition with the best intentions.”

    The Cougarette Showcase will open tonight at 7:30 p.m. in 166 RB. They will also perform Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

    Tickets are $6, and will be on sale daily from 1-4 p.m. in 165 RB. They can also be obtained by calling 378-5859.

    Auditions for next year’s Cougarette Dance Team will be March 25 at 9 a.m. Registration starts at 8 a.m. in RB 161.

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