The Carroll University Blaze Dance Team performs at halftime and during timeouts at all home football and basketball games when school is in session. The Blaze is a signature group at Carroll, contributing to the fun and excitement of being a Carroll sports fan and athlete. Being a member of the Blaze requires a significant commitment, but brings with it a lot of fun and many personal rewards and growth. Members of the Blaze learn and perform 10 or more different dance routines during the season, including a variety of styles of dance, including pom, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and kickline. The routines are choreographed by the team members on a volunteer basis and by guest choreographers.
Auditions for the Blaze are held during move-in weekend immediately before the start of the fall semester. Dancers interested in receiving audition information should contact Dr. Rapps by email by the first week of August. Details regarding auditions will be sent out by email to interested students a minimum of one week before freshman move-in. Audition events begin with an informational meeting regarding the Blaze and auditions, followed by two required audition clinics. The audition routine is taught at the clinics and the dance skills evaluated during auditions are reviewed. Auditions are held after the second audition clinic and consist of performing the audition routine, a short kick line sequence and dance skills including leaps, double pirouettes and toe touches. Auditions are judged by three to four outside judges with extensive dance expertise. The team roster is determined by cutting off where there is a large break in scores to ensure that all members of the Blaze are of relatively similar ability.
Practices are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30–6 p.m. in the Ganfield Gymnasium Dance Studio. Team members must be available for practice between 4–5:50 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Additional practices are held as needed for blocking on the football field and the basketball court. Attendance is mandatory at all home football games, homecoming activities and home men’s and women’s basketball games during the fall and spring semesters. Each year the Blaze performs at four to five Saturday football games in September, October and November. Basketball games occur in the evenings and on weekend afternoons in November, December, January and February. The only acceptable excuse for missing a game is being ill or attending an evening class during a weekday basketball game.
Team members are required to provide their own shoes and personal uniform items. New team members must purchase jazz shoes, shorts, tights, earrings and team warm ups at the beginning of the season at an approximate cost of $170. Hip-hop shoes are purchased later in the season and cost about $30. The university provides poms, uniforms and backpacks that must be returned in acceptable condition at the end of the season.
Dr. Julie Rapps is the Head Coach of the Blaze and also teaches in the Exercise Science program. She has served as coach of the Blaze for 15+ years. Dr. Rapps has trained in jazz, hip-hop, modern, ballet and tap since she was young. She minored in dance in college and performed professionally in Branson, Missouri. Dr. Rapps has more than 20 years of dance teaching and choreography experience. She has also served as a judge for regional and state WACPC dance team competitions. For more information about the team, email Head Coach Dr. Julie Rapps.