Junior Bailey Graves is the cocaptain of the UCA dance team, helping lead the team through their very busy schedule.
This year, the team is dancing at the five home football games, and will also dance at two to three basketball games per week during the basketball season.
Graves said dance team members have to work hard to learn their dances.
“For a short dance like a football or basketball game, we’ll learn it for about two practices, and spend a few hours during three to four practices cleaning it,” Graves said. “When it comes to our Nationals dance, it’s about a two-day process. It’s super intricate, and we clean the dance for at least a semester, making it perfect.”
Graves’ least favorite part of dancing is the time commitment. She has to be organized in order to get all of her work accomplished.
“Our coaches know school comes first, but we have the same schedule each week, unless we have a game,” Graves said. “We know how to prioritize our time to do homework or study.”
Graves has a great deal of experience dancing; she has danced for 18 years. Her mom signed her up to dance when she was 2 years old, and Bailey kept dancing because she fell in love with the sport.
The dance team sometimes travels for competitions such as Nationals.
“We work competitions in Little Rock, Hot Springs and Dallas, but those aren’t very often,” Graves said. “Six of us did get to go to our first UCA away game a few weekends ago to Stephen F. Austin.”
Graves’ most memorable moment from the dance team is when the team went to Nationals.
“It was such a fun experience, and we got to perform finals on the beach both years I’ve gone,” Graves said.
Her favorite part of being on the dance team has been the friends she has made. Being on the dance team has also given her skills that will aid her later in life.
“It has helped me so much with time management, and it taught me how to prioritize,” Graves said.
When Graves is not dancing, she spends her time working as a brand developer and marketing director for Eat my Catfish and working part-time at Kicks Active Wear. Graves is also a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and serves as the dance chair for this organization.
Graves is majoring in marketing with a minor in graphic design. After graduation, she plans to work at Eat My Catfish.
“I’m not a planner. I will go where life takes me,” Graves said.
The greatest lesson Graves learned from the dance team is you get what you put into something.
“Without hard work and determination, you can’t succeed,” Graves said.