The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Practice, performances, precision: GV Pompon’s dance legacy in motion

Courtesy | GVSU Pompon Instagram

Since 2006, Grand Valley State University’s club Pompon team (also known as Grand Valley Pompon or GVP) has represented GVSU in a number of arenas outside of Allendale. From competitions such as the Mid-American Pompon Championships to performing at local sports games for teams like the Grand Rapids Gold, Grand Rapids Griffins and the West Michigan Whitecaps, GVP proudly represents GVSU in blue, black and white uniforms.

Macey Dunn, GVSU senior and president of Grand Valley Pompon has spent her last four years at GVSU on the team. She has danced her whole life, starting at three, exploring multiple dance styles and continuing into a competitive varsity dance team through high school. Dunn joined the GVP team her first semester at GVSU, soon after joining, she got involved with the Eboard and worked her way up to president halfway through her third year on the team. 

“Coming to college, I knew I wanted to continue dance and pom. After looking at all of the different types of dance-related clubs GVSU has, I found out about GVP and decided to try out my freshman year,” Dunn said. “GVP does traditional pom, which is much different from what I was used to, so it was a little bit of an adjustment when I joined the team, but I love it, and it has become one of my favorite styles to perform.”

Hannah Lee, a fellow senior on the team and the secretary for GVP, has also loved her experience as part of the team. However, her background in the pom style of dance runs deep. While it is her fourth year on the team, she’s been doing pom for ten years overall, beginning in seventh grade. Lee was determined to continue pom in college, not only out of her love for it, but because her high school pom coach was a GVP alumni. 

“My favorite part of Pom is easily the people and the relationships. Girls who started as simply my teammates are now my closest friends, my future bridesmaids,” Lee said. “Some of my most trusted mentors were at one point just my coaches; now I go to them for advice, recommendation letters and everything in between.”

Recently the team attended the 2023 Mid American Pompon Hip-Hop and High Kick Championships, placing second in the collegiate division for the first time in ten years.

“It (the Mid-American Pompon Hip-Hop and High Kick Championships) truly was a historic day for our program,” Lee said. “We worked so incredibly hard on that routine, and to put on such a great performance and have the scores reflect that was undeniably rewarding.”

Dunn said these competitions build the team’s confidence. She said the team feeds off the support and recognition they garner after working so hard on their routines. Dunn said it is important to her to be able to inspire the next generation of pompon performers. 

“Performing at competitions is truly a unique experience,” Dunn said. “All of the middle school and high school teams sit at the front of the floor to watch the collegiate division, and the crowd is huge! Being able to receive so much love and support from the Pom community never gets old, and I love that our team is given a chance to not only show off our hard work but also inspire these girls to keep doing what they love and to never give up.”

Overall, the team values a passion for pom and works to cultivate a strong team culture and work ethic. The team’s choreography is a combined effort from both coaches and members of the team, requiring meetings and choreographing sessions on top of their typical three practices a week that run for about two to two and a half hours. Despite these rigorous rehearsals, the team members said the hard work is worth it and pays off in many different ways. 

“Being a part of the pom team at GV has allowed me so many wonderful opportunities,” Lee said. “From traveling across the state to compete with the best of the best, attending philanthropy events and giving back to the community and performing for the amazing crowds at Grand Rapids sporting events to growing as a leader, athlete and student. This team has given me so many amazing experiences that I am grateful for every day.”

The team has more performances coming up during midst of hockey and basketball season. They are looking forward to their performance at a Grand Rapids Griffins game coming up soon. Additionally, they said they are excited for their traditional pompon-style states routine, which they’ll compete in February. 

Overall, though it is their last year at GVSU, Dunn and Lee happily look forward to the remainder of their time on the team and the impact the organization will have on them beyond college.

“It is not very often you get a chance to be a part of something so special, to be able to do what I love with a team that I love is something I will hold on to forever,” Dunn said. “GVP has also helped me come out of my comfort zone and become a stronger leader. I truly would not be who I am without this team, and I am so grateful for every experience this team has given me.”

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