Sometimes it takes going against worldly preferences to stay in line with personal standards. The BYU Cougarettes have done just that by turning years of consistently modest dance costumes into a success.
Competing at nationals every year is a big event for the Cougarettes, who are 16-time National College Dance team champions.
The Cougarettes’ appearance at competition has left an impression on other teams over the years because of their comparatively modest attire.
“Honestly I’m very impressed with many of the teams we compete against and their level of modesty,” said Pyper Thorn, a junior who will be starting her third year on the Cougarettes this fall. “I think because of the influence we have made over the years through our success, others have adapted their costumes to be similar to ours.”
Cougarettes’ artistic director Jodi Maxfield has been with the Cougarettes for 26 years. All 16 national championships have come under her direction. She picks out the costumes, taking into consideration input from the women on the team, to ensure they have modest and tasteful attire.
“If you look at a history of our national costumes you will see that almost all of them are turtleneck and long sleeves,” Maxfield said.
“It creates pretty lines; it’s visual. It compliments the choreography and the routine and it also allows them to really live up to the standards that they want to dress like.”
Appropriate costuming is important to Maxfield because the team represents the conduct and standards of BYU.
“I think it is very important because of the university, which they represent,” Maxfield said. “I think that what we wear, you want it to be representative, you want it to be collegiate, and you want them to look like a dance team.”
Thorn said she had an experience her first year with the Cougarettes that left a huge impact on her. She discovered the group values modesty off the stage as well.
“I was invited to enjoy a weekend up at Bear Lake with any past and present Cougarettes who could go,” Thorn said. “As we went to the lake I was so impressed to be surrounded by girls who were dressed in modest swimming suits. This wasn’t a school event, we weren’t public figures, in fact no one there knew who we were, yet we all were dressed modestly.”
Alexis Williams, a senior studying psychology and a fourth year Cougarette, has found happiness in her modest attire both personally and as a performer. Williams discovered the benefits of dancing on a team that values modesty.
“I have been able to do what I love while feeling comfortable. I look around and see so many dance teams who wear costumes that do not fit my standards of modesty, costumes I know I would not feel comfortable wearing. On most dance teams, you don’t have a choice on what you wear. You are required to wear what the coaches assign,” Williams said. “I’m so grateful that I am able to do what I love on Cougarettes while still living my standards.”