BYU Cougarettes dance through the decades

1004

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”133″ gal_title=”Dancing through the decades”]

The 13-time national champion Cougarettes have developed into a successful, evolving dance team since 1946.

“The Cougarettes have always been an important part of BYU,” said Jodi Maxfield, spirit director and Cougarettes coach. “I have taken the opportunity to turn them into a team that performs both for the games and is artistic as well.”

1960's BYU Cougarettes form the "Y". The Cougarettes were a drill and marching team until transitioning to a dance team in the seventies. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)
1960s BYU Cougarettes form a “Y.” The Cougarettes were a drill and marching team until transitioning to a dance team in the ’70s. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)

The Cougarettes began as a drill and marching team but later became a dance team performing for more than just the halftime show at a game. In 2000, they joined the Spirit Squad as part of the athletic department and have participated in other types of performances and competitions.

“We always try to bring in something to make it unique and different,” Maxfield said. “Whatever will bring a new, fresh perspective to the piece and enhance our show.”

The Cougarettes entertain by bringing something new to the table every year. They have performed with live musicians such as Vocal Point, and Cougarettes have played various instruments in other performances. They have featured guest dancers in their shows and have used audiovisual presentation and props to switch things up.

“We never want our show to be the same,” said Christy Miller, a Cougarette dance teacher. “We always want to do something new.”

1990's Cougarettes pose with the BYU Cougar statue on campus. The dancers are sporting the famous "Coug-Do" which was popular at the time. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)
1990s Cougarettes pose with the BYU Cougar statue on campus. The dancers are sporting the famous “Coug-Do,” which was popular at the time. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)

One of the more noticeable changes for the dance team is hairstyles. The Cougarettes have always had similar hairstyles that set them apart as a team. In the seventies, they were required to have short hair during an era when long, Farrah Fawcett hair was the style.

“It was easy to pick out the girls who were a Cougarette on campus because of their short hair cuts,” Maxfield said.

In the nineties, the Cougarettes developed the “Coug-Do,” a curly, pulled-back hairstyle. Last year was the first year that the dancers were able to perform with their hair down instead of following the pattern of the past few decades.

The Cougarettes are anticipating more changes in the future, such as more travel and performing with other dancers, according to Miller.

“It was fun to participate in a show that had a wide variety of dance and get to know other dancers from other companies,” said Nesha Woodhouse, a former Cougarette. “There was such a great energy, and it was a special experience to be a part of the dance community at BYU.”

1950s Cougarettes pose for a team photo on campus. The Cougarettes first began in 1946. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)
1950s Cougarettes pose for a team photo on campus. The Cougarettes first began in 1946. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)

Throughout all the years and changing styles, Cougarettes have still always shared the same love of dance and the gospel. The Cougarettes have allowed thousands of girls to share their passion and beliefs while still entertaining Cougar fans in different forms, Miller said.

“They care so much about representing the Church in the right way,” she said. “They care about sharing their light and sharing the gospel.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email