A Glimpse of the Newberry College Dance Team
NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s dance team has had a name change since the arrival of new head coach Lauren Alston. She took the once known “Scarlet Poms” and turned it into a team of national title holders.
Since joining in 2019, Alston has assembled a whole new team and led them to victory in 2021 at Cheer Ltd. at Canam in Myrtle Beach. Cheer Ltd. Nationals at Canam is a college-branded company that has been in the joy industry for over 27 years.
Alston and his team won a national title during his sophomore year at Newberry College.
“I felt like I achieved something that a lot of people couldn’t achieve, and I was proud of my team for working so hard while having fun,” she said.
His first year as head coach was cut short by COVID-19 and the season had to be put on hold.
“As soon as the results were announced, the team and I celebrated by jumping and crying with joy. All the blood, sweat and tears have finally paid off, and we are keeping the momentum going as we enter our next season. said Alston.
Prior to his time at Newberry College, Alston had a long list of accomplishments.
“I started dancing at the age of three at Columbia’s Ebony Dance Company. After that, I went to dance at Columbia City Jazz. I mentored Dale Lam, who was the artistic director of the conservatory. Then , I went to lead Columbia City Jazz II which was the preparatory company to get into Columbia City Jazz for a year. I did Carolina Girls when I attended the University of South Carolina. I started to working freelance in teaching and choreography studios. Currently I’m coaching here and judging competitions on my free weekends,” Alston said.
“Everyone always told me I was too young to do what I was doing, and that was a big motivation to keep pushing,” said Alston, 27.
“Over the next five years, my goals are to provide the dance team with a studio to practice and at least 25 people on the team. My short term goals are to place in the top three at DTU and to be first at Spirit Sports (Varsity All Star Cheer and Dance Competition). My other goals are to develop the talent of the team and to be able to fundraise more often,” she said.
Her short-term goals will benefit the team she has now, but her long-term goals will provide a positive setup for years to come.
Alston has a long resume and the one aspect that was missing was head coaching a varsity dance team.
“It’s the only thing I haven’t dipped my feet into yet, and I want to dive into all areas of dance before I start my own business,” Alston said.
Nevaeh Mazzell, a 19-year-old student from Lexington, studied dance at the South Carolina Dance Company before pursuing her dancing career at Newberry College.
“Lauren Alston is a hard person to describe. She’s someone you can go to about anything, and she won’t leave you until there’s a positive result. D ‘On the other hand, she demands perfection, and I think that’s something the Newberry College dance team needed,” Mazzell said. “Not only will she help you dance, but she’ll help you be the best person possible.”
Mazzell has been dancing under Alston for two years.
“Winning Nationals last year was tough, my team worked for months only so we couldn’t compete with our original dance. We had to relearn a completely new routine and be able to compete it in four weeks,” Mazzell said “Coach Alston pushed me and my team and got us ready for the competition in a very short time.”
“The awards were virtual, no one could be on stage while the placements were announced. We were all huddled in a small hotel room silently awaiting our results. The coach didn’t even tell us we had won . She just started screaming and jumping, and we knew we were making her proud,” Mazzell said. “I remember the coach just hugging me, and we were jumping up and down everything. shouting into each other’s ears. This is my best coaching memory.
It was the first time Mazzell had won a national title at the collegiate level.
“My target for this season is to win both competitions. I think we can get there if everyone works as hard as they did last season,” Mazzell said. team has worked so hard over the past few months.”
The Newberry College dance team will compete at Spirit Sport in Myrtle Beach on March 26 and DTU (Dance Team Union) in Orlando, Florida on April 9.
Cayman Duvall is an intern student from Newberry College who works with The Newberry Observer.