Becca Morales is a senior getting ready to graduate this spring studying English Education. While teaching English may be her future career, her heart loves to dance. From a young age, she has been able to make her studio a second home. The same can be said for her collegiate team Seminole Dance Force. Becca has danced with them her last four years of college, and despite it coming to an end so soon, she is leaving with life long lessons gained and forever friends by her side.
Her Campus (HC): How long have you been dancing?
Becca Morales (BM): I have been dancing since I was two years old. When I was four, I joined Tallahassee Dance Academy (TDA) and danced there until I graduated high school in 2017. In elementary school, I loved it so much that I ended up auditioning for their competitive company, and made the Junior Competition team. I danced competitively for TDA for eight years, and even a few years into college! I have also been a dance teacher at TDA since my senior year of high school, and I love it so much. My students have been and will always be my inspirations—TDA really has the best family and will always be my dance home.
HC: What or who first got you into dancing?
BM: I was so young, so it must have been my mom. She danced in high school as well and I followed in her footsteps. Dance has been the one passion in my life that I have never questioned or wavered from. While sometimes I wished that I was a little more sporty like my peers, I know I would never trade in my turning shoes for a soccer ball.
HC: Do you have any dance inspirations? What are some of your favorite styles of dance?
BM: My biggest dance inspirations aren’t the famous dancers of the world, but are actually my colleagues and former teachers at TDA. These instructors have so much passion for what they do that it rubs off on everyone around them! Growing up, I always gravitated towards jazz. It is what I competed all of my solos in, and there is something about hitting all the accents in a jazz piece that stands out. After joining SDF, though, contemporary has become one of my favorites. It is one of the styles that we compete for nationals, and it has grown on me so much!
HC: How long have you been on SDF? What was it like when you first auditioned?
BM: I have been on SDF since my freshman year of college. Being a first year and a freshman, I could have had all the dance experience in the world and probably still would have been nervous. The audition process is long—like it is for any dance team, you against like 60 other people for a spot on the team. I got there at 8:00 a.m. to stretch and warm up, learned three audition combinations (technique, jazz and hip hop), performed in front of a panel of five judges, answered interview questions, performed again for callbacks, and so on until 6:00 p.m. when the final team was announced. After the final team was announced, we had our first team meeting and all of my nerves turned to excitement! I have auditioned for SDF every year since.
HC: Did you always want to dance in college?
BM: Surprisingly, no! It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I decided I wanted to continue my dancing career in college. Dance has always been one of my biggest passions in life—I wasn’t ready to give it up and I doubt I ever will be! While I didn’t always want to dance in college, it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Finding your niche in college can be really hard, and SDF made it so much easier. There’s nothing quite like being on a nationally recognized collegiate dance team and getting to represent Florida State University!
HC: What have been your favorite memories on SDF?
BM: The amazing thing about SDF is the exposure to so many things that I would have never gotten to do otherwise. While there are so many aspects of the team that I love, such as every one of my teammates through the years, camp, team bonding and the endless laughter that erupts during each practice, my favorite part of SDF would have to be Nationals. We attend the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Nationals every year, where FSU is currently placed fifth in the nation for D1A Hip Hop and ninth in the nation for D1A Jazz! Nationals (or “nattys,” as we on SDF call it) is about a four day trip to Daytona, Florida, where we perform in front of thousands of people and a panel of judges against other collegiate dance teams for national titles. While this four day trip is one of the most physically and emotionally draining things one could ever experience (with late night practices and early mornings getting ready), it makes up some of my greatest memories. We get to room with our teammates and it is the best bonding experience anyone could ever have. So much blood, sweat and tears go into preparing for this competition, but in the words of NDA, the work is worth it!
HC: Do you think you will continue dancing post-grad?
BM: One can only hope! I am one with the many college seniors that cringes away from the question, “What are you going to do after you graduate?” While I don’t really have any concrete plans, I hope to continue teaching dance and take classes when I can.
HC: What has been your greatest takeaway from being on SDF these last four years?
BM: There are so many things to take away from being on such an amazing team; picking one is difficult. One of the biggest lessons I have learned (apart from severe time management) is appreciating what you have in the moment, not just after it’s gone. Nationals season, the three months leading up to our big competition, is full of nitty gritty practices that can often get really frustrating if we lose sight of the big picture. But the end of nationals means the end of our season, and it’s always such a bummer when we get so close during our trip and then we don’t really get to see each other anymore. Last year, our season got cut short because of COVID-19, and we never got to compete the dance that we spent months preparing and training for. Quarantine and online school were nothing compared to the loss of our Nationals competition. Not having my team around me for the last few months of spring 2020 made me realize how much I depended on them and how much I truly loved SDF. Looking back as a senior, it is hard to imagine what my college experience would have been like without SDF and I can’t believe that my time on the team will be over in just a matter of months. I owe some of my fondest memories from college to this team, and I really don’t know what I will do without some of the friends SDF has given me.