A student from St. Vital has spearheaded the formation of an athletic dance team at the University of Winnipeg.
It’s only the second such team in the university’s 141-year-old history. Unlike the previous incarnation, Jenn Jonasson wants to make this one a success story.
School officials were initially hesitant about the idea when Jonasson — a third year student at the U of W — approached them because a similar team in 2008 didn’t work out, but her confidence sold them on the idea.
"Jenn just came to us with the idea and I just had to look at the way she was talking and I knew this was a student that could pull this off," said U of W athletic director Doran Reid. "Her personality and determination made me realize this could work."
Team members have been appearing at Wesmen sporting events, and because they are part of an official athletic team, carry the Wesmen name.
Jonasson is happy she can combine two things she is passionate about.
"I’ve been dancing for a long time and I wanted to integrate my love of dance with school," she said. "This is a really big deal. There is no university in Winnipeg that has an athletic dance team. I’m really proud of myself."
Jonasson, 20, has managed to balance some big responsibilities during the school year, but believes the rewards are worth the effort.
"I’m a full-time student. I have a job. I’m running another dance team. I’m very busy, but I have to make time for this because this is making history."
Aside from performing at Wesmen sporting events, Jonasson would like her team to compete both nationally and internationally.
"I’d like to travel. There is a national dance competition in Florida in February that I would really like to take them to. I really want to get the ball rolling with competitions and travelling," she said.
The team will also make sure it gets Wesmen fans involved in the games.
"We’re going to be a promotional team as well. We’re giving away prizes and having on court games during breaks. It’s very exciting."