Kristen (Kris) Ricigliano ‘85 and Lorinda Liongson ‘87 have been connected since college, but the thing that brings them together these days? Being a part of the Milwaukee Bucks Grand Dancers.
“What is a ‘grand dancer’?” you might ask. According to the Bucks’ website, they are a group that is “never too old to play and loves to get their groove on.” This group of adults ages 55+ provides entertainment between quarters and participates in enhancing the fan experience. Each dancer is required to audition or reaudition each year and there are over a hundred adults that show up for auditions. The hiring team doesn’t play favorites - just because you’ve been on the dance team before doesn’t mean you’ll get in again.
Last year, Lorinda fell upon an ad in her email for the Grand Dancers and last minute decided, “Why not? I didn’t tell anyone. I went right from work to audition and found lines of people. When I started talking to women who had to try out several times and still didn’t get in, made me question my decision to try out and had to convince myself that it was ok if I didn't get in. But if I didn’t try, I would never know. At my age, I didn’t want to live with regrets. ” She got in and loved being a part of the group, “I was in show choir, which I loved while I was in high school. I missed it - the level of competition and detailed work at the performance level. I had done things like Zumba, but I was ready for something more.”
She then mentioned it to some friends including Kris, “Lorinda brought it up when we were meeting with mutual friends. I performed in many musicals, and I was always a dancer first. I said, ‘I want to do something like that!’” Kris took the opportunity to try out this year and was enrolled for her first year while Lorinda was accepted for her second year. Kris and Lorinda describe high expectations of the team to perform with professionalism and quality. Knowing that, it’s no surprise that the group practices four hours every week while the Bucks are in season for performances that last only 1-2 minutes.
“Performing in the black box at Otteson prepared me to not get nervous in front of crowds of thousands of people,” said Kris about the experience of singing and acting literally next to the audience. She acknowledges the ripple effect from attending Carroll. “The things that it sets you up for never go away, like connection to the community and the things you learn about yourself,” said Kris, as she thought more about how Carroll had shaped her. Dr. Joseph Dailey was the most impactful faculty to whom she attributes validation and the belief she could be a person of value.
“There were so many defining moments while I was here,” echoed Lorinda. A group of five women from 5th
Floor of North Berg have remained life-long friends. Additionally, there were professors that opened her eyes, “I loved Dr. Sherrick. She taught me about feminism and how to think more broadly.”
Kris and Lorinda are thankful for the education they received while they were at Carroll and suggest that anyone entering college or early in their careers “keep an open mind” and “the beauty of the liberal arts education is that it helps you keep an open mind - don’t get so focused where you can’t change.”
You can see the Grand Dancers perform at upcoming Bucks games on December 13, December 17, January 3, and February 14. Check out their page for more info