Asking for help

When you are dancing in school, the idea of becoming an “alumni” might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. But after you have been out of school and away from dance for a while, it takes on a whole different meaning.

Maybe you have kids of your own now – maybe even grand kids! The alumni of any school, studio, or national organization is what brought you to where you were in the first place – the dance floor. It is there that your memory, your past, and in some cases your future were formed.

Most alumni’s have been known to do a host of charitable events, sponsor dancers, and even kick in money for rooms and travel for active members. You might find yourself looking at your past team and all those coming up behind you. -How are they doing? -Is there a need? -Could you help? Sometimes helping means getting on the phone, making calls, or handing out flyers. For others it is cash donation. As an alumni you are probably more than happy to help out.

Doesn’t matter how you choose to help, be that organiziing a fundraiser, sponsoring a trip , or just paying for car wash tickets. Help those dancers who may be looking at cuts during their dance season regain hope.

Most of us have danced just about everywhere. We’ve danced in hallways, commons, cafeterias, outside, on the side of a mountain, and even on an old city park stage filled with splinter wood. We’ve danced in the streets, carrying flags, and wearing batman costumes. We can always find a floor. What we can’t always find is the funding for costumes, travel, and fees. That is where we need our alumni.

My freshman year we bought used costumes from dancers who were graduating high school. We didn’t have bags that year unless someone gave us one. We were paying off prior team debts, with current funding. So this isn’t a new thing. Parents from my studio days helped make costumes and props.

A list of alumni should be available at your school district or local college, university, or studio. You should always be including them in your plans. Alumni like to be recognized too! Sponsor your own alumni dance. Most alumni would be grateful to get back on the floor and perform – just for kicks and giggles.. You could get your school to sponsor a basketball game and give the money to your team to help with dance costs.

The community sitting on the stands are packed with alumni. Most alumni don’t mind paying for an alumni shirt to dance in, and to pay for a special dinner. $50 a pop – you keep a cut. That is what alumni can do for you!

Sometimes the need is money. My university dance team alumni, the Crimsonline, sponsors the Utah State Drill every year. It is their largest fundraiser. The Crimsonline has been successful enough to even be able to award small scholarships to the members of their team. That was a nice perk! The Crimsonline also dances at at drill state; they also invite BYU’s cougarettes, UVU wolverines; SUU has also attended in the past, as well as other college and university teams throughout the state. The idea is that all the dancers throughout the state get the chance to see ALL the alumni state wide. You set your rivalries aside for this. Here – all teams are equal. We are nothing without each other.

You need your alumni. Many scholarships are awarded from various alumni associations. At the high school level, you still can solicit your alumni to help you in time of need. Alumni can work with your school in helping with travel, motel, and chaperone costs. You may have to get volunteers to help with your choreography, rather than purchase it.

As future alumni yourself, you may have to begin working a little harder than you had in the past. Bump it up a notch. You may have to do a number of extra fundraisers to help those who struggle financially – get costumes. Take a step back even future into your past and see if you remember doing a lasagna dinner to get your fees paid? A spook alley? How about selling cookie dough?

Programs come and go. Alumni’s remain. It is the one thing they cannot take from you. It is the one position that you can help with the most. Financially, teams need all the help they can get. If your program is looking at serious cuts – don’t wait until they take it away. You need to be on you’re “A” game – the “Alumni game” now. You need to be actively going after the help and support of those that have gone before you. Embrace them, or you might not be dancing at all. Call on all your resources. The alumni may be what is standing between you and your ability to go to drill state, that special completion, or next years camp.

I just finished up my first reunion with my alumni. It was a wonderful experience. All members paid in advance to carry the fees for costumes and dinner. It was well organized and it was great to be back out on the field in front of 40,000 university fans.

It’s your turn! Keep the dream alive for someone who is coming up behind you. Donate where you can, get involved. Call your high school or local college – let them know you want to help. If a current member gives you a call – tell them you will help.