Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT Dance Team gets creative with student-led funding

Kennedy Weatherby
The UT Dance Team performs at the Texas Fight Rally and Parade on Oct. 4, 2023. The team recently partnered with Free People Movement to help raise funds.

In full makeup and Texas gear, the UT Dance Team shared smiles and fun choreography to hype up the crowd at the Texas Fight Rally this Wednesday. Their infectious positivity reflected the team’s high hopes this year for continuing to place well in competition and make the team an enjoyable and, maybe, more affordable organization to be a part of.  

UT’s official competitive dance program since 1977, this year’s team consists of 25 dancers from all majors and years. The team’s main goals include increasing competitiveness and decreasing financial demands on its members.   

Even though the UT Dance Team represents and competes on behalf of the University, Victoria Castillo, dance captain and biology senior, said the program receives no funding from UT. Castillo said their program requires an annual budget of $65,000-$70,000, which they raise through donations, fundraising events like their winter showcase, HornRaiser, and membership dues. 

“In our division, we are competing against teams that are fully funded by their athletic program,” Castillo said. “So that presents a unique challenge for us.”

With the help of RecSports advisors, the team manages costumes, coach and choreographer salaries, travel and competition expenses — on top of practicing multiple times a week.

The Free People Movement on Guadalupe Street aids the UT Dance Team in managing their responsibilities. Castillo said about a year ago, while shopping at the Free People location, she and her mom found a pair of pants they really liked. Her mom approached the cashier and asked if they’d be interested in donating the pants to the team. Since then, the Free People sponsors an unofficial partnership with the team, donating clothes in exchange for social media exposure from team members.  

“(Free People has) helped us a lot,” Castillo said. “They have given us practice-wear, even costumes, to wear for nationals, or we make their apparel part of our nationals costumes. … It lowers the costs of extraneous clothing.”

The team also uses Free People’s studio space to host some clinics, with their next event taking place on Oct. 26 from 7-8 p.m.

“It’s great publicity for us because we’re more visible, not only near campus, but in a public space where even non-dancers go,” said dance co-captain and sociology and Plan II senior Athena Adrogué. “That’s really important because that could translate to ticket sales for (our) winter show, and it’s overall better for outreach.”

Though the team’s financial responsibilities can be tough, the team benefits from being student-led, Adrogué said. For example, the team themselves can make quick decisions for their performances without needing to run it by a coach. Overall, Adrogué said she feels this contributes to their success.  

Bridget Jones, RecSports senior assistant director for sports clubs, said she sees this dynamic from the outside.

“They’re very passionate,” Jones said. “They have this community within each other because of how passionate they are.”

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