It’s about time you meet Mt. A Dance

Mt. A Dance Captain and Assistant Captain talk competition, recital and more

Both Kaia Knockwood, fourth-year psychology major, and Marissa Lefurgey, third-year English major, have been dancing since they were three. Now, the two lead a 40-person dance team here at Mt. A. Despite competing and training multiple hours throughout the week, they are barely recognized as an athletic team by the University. Just this February the team was finally featured on Mountie Pride, the Mt. A Athletics website, under the club sports section. 


“[Mt. A] wants to use us for their sporting events […] and call us varsity at those events, but then when it comes to us we are not allowed to say that we are varsity, we have to say that we are a club,” says Knockwood, Mt. A Dance Captain and Ballet Co-Coach. “So, there’s that little disconnect from the school seeing us as a sport and the school seeing us as an art,” she continues. 


If you have been to a football game where the team has performed at halftime, you have likely heard them announced as Mt. A’s “Varsity Dance Team.” However, they do not have the same privileges that other Mt. A varsity athletes have. “Technically, we should be considered a sporting team because we go to competitions and we train every week,” says Lefurgey, Mt. A Dance Assistant Captain and Jazz Coach. 


Whether dance is an art or sport is a heavily debated topic. However, as Lefurgey suggests, the nature of Mt. A Dance is similar to other sports teams on campus. “Some people don’t know that we actually do competitions, some people think that we just dance for the halftimes, when there is actually a lot more work put into it,” she says.


The team is composed of smaller teams that compete in different styles of dance. In addition to a team dedicated to halftime performances, the team competes in the following styles: Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip-Hop and Tap. Each team holds auditions at the beginning of the Fall semester.


“Everybody, no matter how many teams they are on, is at least doing three hours of dance a week,” says Lefurgey. “We have a dancer who is on every team but one, so she probably [dances] upwards of 10 hours a week,” she continues. This does not include rehearsals for solos and additional training, such as strength training and cardio. Coaches, like Lefurgey and Knockwood, also put in additional hours choreographing, selecting costumes and cutting music. 


Coaching and leadership positions on the team are voluntary. Furthermore, the team is primarily self-funded, only receiving a small sum from the MASU each year. “We do multiple different fundraisers throughout the year,” says Lefurgey. Most of their funding is a result of fundraising and donations. Other costs, like costumes and gas to and from competitions, are out of pocket for the dancers. 


On March 9, the team will be on their way to Halifax, NS to compete at Limelight Dance Competition. “This year, for me, is a little sentimental,” says Knockwood, who began competing at Limelight when she was five. “I’ll be able to perform on that stage […] one last time.” For many dancers, performance opportunities dwindle after highschool. Especially those, like Knockwood, whose graduating year was affected by COVID-19.


Thus, the opportunity to dance at the university level is all the more important. In addition to practicing their craft, the two note how impactful the dance community has been on their university experience. “It is so nice to meet people who have the same love for dance as you,” says Knockwood. “I have made friends on the team who are going to be my friends forever,” adds Lefurgey, “It is such a heartwarming thing to be a part of.”


In hopes of including Mt. A and Sackville in this community, Mt. A Dance is happy to announce their upcoming recital: Waves of Motion: A Collection of Dance. “My biggest goal for the recital is to showcase the hard work we have put in. […] I want to share it more to the community,” says Knockwood. The recital will take place at Convocation Hall on March 23 at 1 p.m., and will feature local studios Perpetual Motion Dance Studio and A.K.A. Dance Studio.


To buy tickets for Waves of Motion: A Collection of Dance, visit

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