BY LAUREN RAMSEYER
The Baronettes dance team is not only a university club but also a ministry that has been part of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s campus life for five years.
“I see it as a ministry and a life-style,” said Baronette Nicole “CoCo” DeCarlo about the dance team.
DeCarlo’s fellow dance team member Kayla Spaar agreed, saying, “It is using our talents to glorify God.” The Baronettes play an important role in student life, not just by serving as entertainment during the basketball games, but by giving a positive twist to modern dance.
“I think the biggest thing with our involvement with the campus is just to show other students that dancing doesn’t have to be provocative or sexual,” said the Baronettes’ captain Julie Fleming. “Our dance style is very different from most dance teams. We show that you can dance in an appropriate way and still be entertaining.”
The women of the dance team also hold themselves to high standards physically and spiritually in order to serve as a good example to those on and off Franciscan’s campus.
“We hold each other accountable in and out of the dance room,” said Madison Bolesta, a new member of the Baronettes.
The team practices about four times a week and will increase practices as events get closer. The team’s biggest events are the Midnight Madness and their annual dance showcase. In the spring they will also visit a nursing home and perform for the residents.
“Midnight Madness is definitely the most exciting event,” said Fleming. “So many people are there and it is the first performance, so we are all running on adrenaline and we are so excited.”
The members of the Baronettes come from a variety of different types of dancing backgrounds. Most of the Baronettes have been in the dance world for many years, such as freshman Maddie Chawner. “I’ve done dance throughout middle school and high school, and I wanted to continue in college,” she said. “Then I found the Baronettes.”
“I know many girls that do come here to Franciscan give up their dancing dreams for one reason or another,” said Fleming. “Several of the girls on the dance team this year said that they thought they were going to go to a school for dance and they ended up coming to Franciscan and they were very glad that there was a dance team. It helps the people that want to dance because they are able to praise God in that way.”
The dance team has been undergoing some difficulty this year with construction underway for the Fieldhouse addition. Over the summer the team learned that they no longer had a dance studio to practice in, so they have been trying to fit in practice hours at the campus gym and also at Steubenville’s YMCA.
“Since we are not considered a sport, it was very hard to find accommodation on campus,” said Fleming. She added that the athletic department did their best to accommodate them and the money received from student government also helped with the situation.
The patron saint chosen for the Baronettes since the beginning of their time here on campus is Saint Maria Goretti.