BY Jackie Clifford
This year, Sacred Heart brought in a new head coach for the university Dance Team, alumna Reina Van Florcke.
Van Florcke was a former member of the dance team and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2014. She then continued her education at Sacred Heart University, earning her master’s in Teaching Elementary Education in 2015.
“Dance team gave me some of the best memories and even better friends,” said Van Florcke.
Following Van Florcke’s four years as a member on the dance team, she also spent four years as the assistant coach. Now she has made the transition into becoming head coach.
“Now that I’ve graduated and can no longer dance on the team, it’s awesome that I still get to be part of the program in a different way by coaching,” said Van Florcke. “Fortunately, this year I have three of the most hardworking and dedicated captains and they have been right on board with me since the beginning of the season. They collaborate with me and wanted to be involved as much as possible. I couldn’t ask for better leaders for this team.”
“I think my favorite thing about Reina is that she is so open to hearing new ideas. I love that she is so willing to hear what the other captains and myself have opinions on,” said senior Michelle Munos. “I love that she feels comfortable enough to share her feelings and opinions with us.”
Munos is one of the captains on the dance team who has been on the team for all four years alongside Van Florcke.
The Dance Team is currently in the middle of football season where they dance at all the home games. Starting this year, they are not only just dancing during pre-game and at halftime, but they are also going to be dancing at two media timeouts during the games as well.
The team is also preparing for the start of the basketball season which is quickly approaching in November. They dance at all home women’s and men’s basketball games, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch the dance team in action.
You can find them at @shudanceteam on Instagram for even more information on their future performances.
“One of my favorite parts about being a coach for the dance team is to be able to watch the girls accomplish their goals on a daily basis and at Nationals,” said Van Florcke. “They truly mature in the room over the four years and find confidence that I know they will carry throughout their adult life.”
The team will also be competing at the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Championship this April in Daytona, Flo. Starting this year, the team will be competing in jazz at nationals as well as their usual hip hop routine.
“I feel more pressure watching a routine than dancing in them because once the team runs onto the floor it’s out of my control. I wouldn’t trade those nerves for the world, because I still get to have dance as a huge part of my life. Dance became my passion at such a young age,” said Van Florcke. “My biggest goals for the year are to push the girls to become physically and mentally strong, encourage them to strive for better technique, facilitate creating lifelong bonds for the girls, and to continue to grow this already amazing program.”