Story by Breanna Sill, Staff writer
In the fall of 2015, three Murray State students had an idea for a dance team that they hoped could differ from the Racer Girls or the cheerleaders and bring a different vibe to campus. With the help of the office of Multicultural Affairs, the Racerettes dance team was born.
After news of a new dance team spread, girls across campus came out to express interest almost instantly.
“We had an informational and we had over 30 girls that came and we were just like ‘Wow, OK, so we want to support these girls,’” said Anita Chitule, Student Services Specialist of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and adviser to the Racerettes. “Then for us it’s also a retention-based program so the Racerettes have to do some of our retention work such as study hours or retention workshops.”
Since its creation during the fall semester, the Racerettes have performed at numerous Murray State men’s and women’s basketball games. Their style of dance differs from other routines attendees would typically see from the Racer Girls or cheerleaders.
“The difference is the style of dance,” Chitule said. “They’re more of a hip-hop style majorette dance team so it’s a different type of dance than what the Racer Girls do and what the cheerleaders do.”
The Racerette’s choreography is all original.
“The choreography team is responsible for making up all of our routines,” said Imani Oliver, sophomore from St. Louis. “When they come up with something new, they are to show it to our advisers to get approval before the team can begin learning it.
“The name ‘Racerette’ comes from the original name majorette and majorette style dancing pretty much consists of doing what are called stands,” Oliver said. “Stands are basically simple eight or 16 count dances where the person at the top or front row of the diamond formation will do the stand first and the rest of the team will follow afterwards.”
Oliver enjoys being a part of the Racerettes because she loves to dance.
“It’s a way for me to be involved at Murray since I don’t play a sport,” she said. “I’ve always loved to perform as well and being on this team gives me that opportunity.”
However, being a part of the team does come with its share of work, as prepping for their routines requires many hours of practice.
“Our practices can last anywhere between two and three hours and we’ve had weeks where we’ve practiced every day,” Oliver said. “We usually practice at least twice a week to make sure everyone is good and ready for our upcoming performances.”
For students who would like to become a member of the dance team, the Racerettes will host a clinic in March so that those interested can come and see what the practices are all about.
Right now, there are 11 members of the Racerette dance team, but the girls are hoping to add some new faces to the mix with an upcoming tryout process to follow the clinic.
“There is an interview process that anyone can take part in,” Chitule said. “There is a dance routine that they have to do, so it’s like a whole process.”
There is no limit on the number of girls the team hopes to accept and by becoming a Racerette, Chitule said you will get the opportunity to bring a new type of morale to Murray State’s campus.
“I think we just bring such a more diverse style of dancing and diverse student group,” she said. “We are also a part of the Winner’s Circle, so it just adds to that whole component of having students in the stands during men’s and women’s games and just something different to see. It’s just important for the guys and girls on the teams to have support from students across all races.”