Jenn DaRosa brings experience and a new perspective to team
October 11, 2018
Santa Clara’s Dance Team has leaped into the school year with a new coach, new members and a new set of goals. Recently-hired Head Coach Jennifer DaRosa is bringing her extensive experience and innovative thinking to the group of 16 girls.
DaRosa, who was captain of her collegiate dance team at Saint Mary’s, began dancing at the age of two. Upon graduation, she danced professionally for two years in the Arena Football League as a San Jose Saberkitten. Eventually, she found her way back to her former studio, the performing company DanCyn, and has continued to choreograph high school dance teams throughout the Bay Area.
“It has been a goal of mine for a while to coach at the college level and this position came at the perfect time,” DaRosa said. “I had done routines for the team in the past and every time I came in as a guest, it was such a great experience. I couldn’t be happier to be coaching such a great team at such a great school.”
DaRosa is already using her experience to revolutionize a team that has often fallen to the sidelines.
“I want to take this team to a new level and bring out in the girls everything I know they are capable of,” DaRosa said. “My goal is to not only be a part of the gameday entertainment, but to heighten it.”
The first step to achieving that? Putting together a great team.
The Dance Team recently held auditions this past weekend, Oct. 6-7. Saturday was the preliminary round followed by Sunday’s finals. The new members were chosen by DaRosa and the other coaches directly after Sunday’s auditions.
“Auditions went really well and I am so pleased with all of the girls that will be a part of the program this year,” DaRosa said. “I’m excited to really get the season started and I think this experience will continue to be everything I hoped and more.”
Alongside DaRosa is assistant head coach and junior student Kelly Sendek, who was hired by the Athletics Department over the summer. Sendek, a former Team U.S.A. dance member, brings a strong passion and student perspective to the table.
“We want to make everyone rethink the idea of the dance team,” Sendek said. “We want to prove to athletics and to the team that these girls work really hard, practicing three times a week, and still aren’t considered an ‘athletic team’ when they really are athletes.”
DaRosa and Sendek both want to work to push the members harder than ever while implementing greater structure and organization to the team.
“In the past, dance team hasn’t been on the top of many people’s priority list. We want to make a few changes, especially to the structure,” Sendek said. “A big goal is to start adding conditioning to the schedule. We want to prove that dancers work just as hard as the athletic teams— and oftentimes even harder than a lot of the club teams—and we hope this will prove to athletics that we really are an athletic team.”
Sendek explained that she and DaRosa are currently developing a team calendar to get the student body more involved in their events. In order to elevate their success, the team plans on attending more campus-wide activities and hosting their own fundraiser this year.
“It takes a lot of sacrifice to be on the dance team,” Sendek said. “You have to have good time management and be organized just like all of the other student-athletes on campus. But, in order to prove that to anyone we need to first build our name and get the word out.”
DaRosa has already taken initiative, using knowledge from her past experiences as a coach, captain and performer to gradually change the team’s image. One such change that has members and coaching staff excited for the upcoming year is new uniforms.
“I’m really excited about both Jenn and the new uniforms,” said Santa Clara junior and second-year member Maria Kraus. “Both have the potential to boost overall team morale. Having Jenn as our new coach will alleviate any tension left from our previous coach and offer the guidance that we need on the team. Having new uniforms will have a positive impact on the team, like look good, feel good, perform good.”
The team will be debuting their new uniforms during their first performances in the Leavey Center throughout the first Men’s Basketball game on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. against Prairie View A&M University.
Contact Olivia DeGraca at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.