Beyond the Sidelines: Cacti and Morning Shows in Arizona

Dec. 28, 2013

Throughout the year, a quartet of Michigan dance team members will offer behind-the-scenes views of the team and its activities. This week, 12 dancers have been spreading Maize and Blue cheer in Arizona as part of Michigan's contingent at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Senior Melissa Rich relates the jam-packed days the team has had leading up to the Michigan football team's game with Kansas State.

Hi everyone, this is Mel, your senior blogger, coming at you from Phoenix, Ariz. This is the second opportunity the Michigan dance team has had to travel to a bowl game, the first being last season's Outback Bowl game in Tampa, Fla.

We arrived in Phoenix on the 26th and got straight to work with the Michigan Marching Band. We finished off a long travel and practice day with a trip to none other than ... Buffalo Wild Wings! We were welcomed with maize and blue streamers, balloons and inflatable block M's. However, we were more concerned with the food because we're dancers and we like to chow down (but not on toxic oranges).

Very early on Friday (Dec. 27), the dance and cheer teams were up and at 'em at 4:30 a.m. in order to be featured on the Channel 12 morning show. A few Kansas State cheerleaders and their mascot -- Willie the Wildcat -- joined in the festivities. Being Michigan spirit members, we came out in full force -- 32 of us to Kansas State's six members! Hopefully the game outcome resembles those numbers, in Michigan's favor, of course.

Dance team at Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

From there were made our way to band practice, because perfect practice makes perfect (Coach Joan's favorite saying). After some time working on the halftime show with the band, we headed off to become one with the cacti with hiking excursions and horseback riding. I conquered my fear of horses and actually rode one with the encouragement of my teammates (thanks ladies!).

Last but not least on our agenda for the day was a performance, with all spirit and band members, at the Phoenix Zoo Lights. The entire zoo was decorated in Christmas lights that were beautifully choreographed to music. (Hint: we really like songs about Christmas lights and dance to them often. Check it out on Jan. 11 at our Friends and Family performance).

Dance team at Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

We are really looking forward to the last football game day of the year, and for us seniors, the last ever. Today (Dec. 28) we are making parade and tailgate appearances along with performing in the game and halftime. We are ready to cheer our hearts out in support of Team 134 as they take on the Wildcats! Whether you're here in Arizona or watching from home, we expect you to cheer with us!