Emily Marchel performs with Bomb Squad for the Kennel during a media timeout. Due to COVID-19, Bomb Squad has had to adjust drastically.

Maneuvering through obstacles and adjusting on the fly have been two mantras people across the globe have taken as their own since the rude awakening of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with the ambiguity that comes with the pandemic, there is evidence out in the world to show that people continue to fight on and do the things they love.

The Gonzaga Dance Team and GU Bomb Squad have embodied these two mantras in the best way possible. Typically, both teams would practice for events such as GU basketball games and other performances, but with both teams not having that same opportunity they once had prior to the pandemic, both teams have now found new ways to stay active and continue to perfect their craft.

Led by captains senior Meghan Horn, junior Alexis Villanueva and sophomore Maya Guttierez, the GU Dance Team has been creating videos and filming respective dances and sharing them on social media. Whether it be in The Kennel or on Mulligan Field, the team would hire a videographer and practice the dance they had planned for the performance, and would post the video on their respective social media accounts.

“We have worked on our dances at our practices and have been able to film them and share them on social media and get them out to students and the Zag community that way.” Horn said. “That’s been our main source of sharing our performances this year.”

For the GU Bomb Squad, the team has been doing similar things. The team continues to practice at its normal practice times, learning a new dance at each practice. The team also has opportunities where a member of the team signs up to choreograph and teach the team a new dance at each practice. 

Senior GU Bomb Squad dancer Ryan Meza said having someone teach a new dance each week has allowed for the team to keep the creative juices flowing.

“It’s a way for us to be prepared, dance together, learn from each other and increase our skills.” Meza said. “That’s the main focus. [We want] to maintain our dance abilities and be ready for next year if we are able to go to games next year.”

For both teams, maintaining a sense of camaraderie and team bonding has been something they both wanted to emphasize greatly throughout the year. Both teams have done that in their own ways. The GU Dance Team has done holiday-themed practices, such as a Halloween-themed practice, a Christmas-themed practice and most recently a Valentine’s Day-themed practice, as well as using practice time to play games, listen to music and hang out with the team. 

A new thing Guttierez said the team did this season is pairing up the freshman on the team with an older girl on the team to create mini families for the freshman to go to whenever they need anything.

“We encourage the sisters to reach out to each other and check in and maybe grab lunch at the COG or something every few weeks to keep those bonds going and to make sure that the team is still growing closer,” Guttierez said.

The Bomb Squad has also been doing social events to keep the team bonding strong. From retreats that presented moments of vulnerability to creating a “Bomb Week” highlighting the seniors on the team preparing for graduation along with other internal events, the team has been able to keep ties strong with each other during these tough times. 

Both teams said they are extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to be together and continue dancing. Some of the other clubs at GU have not been able to meet and function the way they normally would like to, and both teams said they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities that have been given to them and have gratitude to keep doing what they love. 

“It’s so cool seeing Dance Team’s dynamic and Bomb Squad’s dynamic, being two big dance clubs on campus,” Meza said. “We don’t get to perform when they’re performing…. I am super appreciative that our captains were able to find a space for us to at least practice and be together as a team.”

The two GU dance teams on campus have big events planned going forward, and with the camaraderie present in both teams, they are on their way to bop to the top under unprecedented circumstances.

 

Vinny Saglimbeni is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @vinnysaglimbeni.

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