Alyssa Zadel lands a well-deserved spot on the University of Michigan’s dance team


While Alyssa Zadel’s senior year filled with dance team practices and dance competitions comes to end, she trades in her Ranger dance uniform for a Michigan Wolverine uniform. During her college years, Alyssa will be dancing alongside the Wolverines while she continues to follow her dancing dreams.

“[I’ll miss the people] because I’ll have a similar experience I think in college,” Alyssa said. “But I have known these people for a long time like I don’t know anyone on the team right now which is a little intimidating.

Although it may be intimidating, without being a part of the FHC Dance Team, Alyssa would have never been where she is today.

“I think definitely doing high school dance team, and because our dance team is so good and serious, made me look into college dancing,” Alyssa said.

“I thought I wanted to dance after high school,” Alyssa said. “But I wasn’t that sure about what my options were; I think being a captain and being so involved in the team made me see a lot more and made me get into [looking at college dance].”

Even though Alyssa will be joining the Wolverines shortly, she didn’t land the spot as a dancer by luck. She has worked hard since a child on her skills, and it has finally paid off.

“I started dancing when I was five,” Alyssa said. “I danced at a studio recreationally first, then I started competing. My mom’s friend, our neighbor, told us about a studio my friend went to, and we started going there.”

Ever since then it has led up to the big day: tryout day.

She called me back when I was at my studio. That was exciting because all my teachers were there along with everyone, so it was so exciting.

“I was really nervous,” Alyssa said. “There were about seventy people fighting for four spots, so it was a lot. I stayed in Ann Arbor for four days [doing] a series of dances and things: jazz, hip hop, sidelines, the fight song, and an interview.”

Now the hardest part came: waiting.

About two days after the strenuous tryout, Alyssa finally received the call she was greatly anticipating.

“Originally, I was at school during the day,” Alyssa said. “She texted me saying she needed to call me. She called me back when I was at my studio. That was exciting because all my teachers were there along with everyone, so it was so exciting.”

Even though the two teams seem like they would be totally alike, Alyssa knows that dancing at a collegiate level is going to bring new challenges.

“It will be a little more intense,” Alyssa said. “The crowd [is scary] because we dance at football games which is more people compared to what I’m used to. There’s a lot of commercial aspects of it. For example, I’ll have to talk to donors and things like that which will be different. Also, nationals [is different. We’ll go to nationals, but we’ll go to Universal Dance Alliance (UDA) instead of the National Dance Alliance (NDA), which is a bigger competition.”

“We don’t compete regionally as we do here,” Alyssa said. “We’ll have one big competition which is nationals. Also, at the collegiate level it’s in divisions, so we’ll be division one and it’s not separated into sizes like high school is.  

Now the new season seems closer than ever. Even though saying goodbye to her high school team will be sad, she’s excited about what is to come.

“I am definitely [looking forward to] game day,” Alyssa said. “I am really excited for tournaments and stuff cause we get to go to all that type of stuff, which I didn’t get to in high school.”