Crimson Line dances for football, fun and charity

By By Jenny Lieber and By Jenny Lieber

By Jenny Lieber

With shiny red uniforms and hair pulled tight in ponytails, members of the Crimson Line dance their way into U football games every season.

Working with the cheerleaders and marching band, the Crimson Line-also found at men’s and women’s basketball games-uses different props to provide additional entertainment before the game and at halftime for spectators.

Lori Rupp has been coaching the Crimson Line for 18 years and is also the U’s cheerleading adviser. She said the new team is young, but very talented.

“One thing that is unique about (Crimson Line) this year is that we have one set of twins that are identical. They are short, so they each stand at the ends of a kick line,” Rupp said. “It’s funny when people ask me if I have twins on the team.”

This year’s team consists of 26 women ranging from freshmen to seniors. Each member is a full-time student at the U, maintains a 3.0 GPA and went through a rigorous audition and interview process held last April.

One of the team’s trademark dance moves at the football games is doing kicks in a kick line for every touchdown scored by the Utes.

But besides kick lines, the Crimson Line uses a variety of dance styles they perform throughout the school year.

Kelly McIntyre, a junior family and consumer studies major, is one of the team’s three vice presidents. She said, “Our style of dancing is very versatile. We do jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and have even done some Broadway style routines.”

The team’s president, Tammy Nicholsen, a junior exercise and sport science major, has been dancing since the age of 3 or 4, just as most of the other team members have.

“The team’s four officers are the ones who choreograph all of our routines,” Nicholsen said. “Sometimes we may also bring in a special guest choreographer for basketball season.”

The team members put a lot of time and hard work into their routines, proving that practice makes perfect. They practice three hours daily and on game days, extra practices are held.

“We put in about 15 hours a week,” said Nicholsen. “The officers put in even more time since we have extra responsibilities.”

Both McIntyre and Nicholsen agree that getting to know all of the girls on the team and attending the events is one of the best parts about Crimson Line. “It’s a great experience,” McIntyre said.

Not only do the Crimson Line’s dancers know how to entertain a stadium full of roaring football fans, but they also participate in many community service projects throughout the year.

“We have just been invited along with the cheerleaders to perform and create a spirited atmosphere at Gov. Jon Huntsman and First Lady Mary Kay Huntsman’s ‘Power In You’ rally at the E-Center on Oct. 3,” Rupp said.

Also coming up, the team has its Football Halftime Spectacular show Oct. 28 and 29. Dancers from ages 3 to 18 are invited to participate in a workshop and then perform at halftime.

“It is one of the team’s biggest fund-raisers of the year and a great recruiting tool,” Rupp said.

The team is also looking forward to Homecoming at the end of September (alumnae return to perform with the new team during halftime) and the introduction of a new program called the Red Line-a junior performing team made up of dancers from 3 to 18 years old that will perform at community and charity events. Funds raised will go towards the Crimson Line Scholarship Fund.

Lennie Mahler

Dancers from the Crimson Line perform before last week’s football game against Northern Arizona University at Rice-Eccles Stadium.