Chi Omega’s March Madness is practically a holiday for Illinois State University’s Greek life. Chapters work for months on creating dance routines that will blow you away. Ever wonder who’s behind these amazing dance numbers? I present to you, the 2016 sorority March Madness coaches.
Name: Melanie Monnich
Hometown: Arlington Heights , IL
Major: Dance Education
Sorority: Tri Delta
Her Campus ISU: What is your experience is with dance?
Melanie Monnich: I have been dancing since I was 3 years old and have been performing since I was 5. Dance has always been my passion so I decided to pursue that at the university level as well and plan to continue to perform and teach dance for the rest of my life!
HC ISU: What is the most exciting part about March Madness?
MM: The most exciting part of March Madness for me is being able to coach 80 girls in my sorority and create something so awesome for a great cause. March Madness is awesome because not only does it raise money for Make A Wish, it also is a bonding experience and great way to get to know girls in our chapter that you weren’t necessarily close with before. My freshman year in march madness I stood next to this girl in my pledge class that I didn’t even know and we bonded over how hungry we always were during practice and now she has been my roommate for the past two years and is also my best friend! It is also super exciting to see all of the other sororities and fraternities come together and support each other!
Name: Rachel Cain
Hometown: Sandwich, IL
Major: Fashion Merchandising
Sorority: Delta Zeta
HC ISU: What was the most difficult part of choreographing?
Rachel Cain: Taking time out of my busy schedule to choreograph and choreographing for such a large group of people trying to think of cool, visual moves! But everything is so worth it when you see the dance come together the day of the performance.
HC ISU: What is your favorite thing about your chapter?
RC: Our sisterhood. I have found my best friends and bridesmaids through Delta Zeta and I think any Delta Zeta you talk to would agree. All new member classes get along so well and we love doing things all together! March Madness is one of our favorite times of the year because we get to bond and spend so much time together.
Name: Sarah Lawson
Hometown: Chillicothe, IL
Major: Elementary Education
Sorority: Alpha Gamma Delta
HC ISU: What do you think is the key to a great routine?
Sarah Lawson: I think the key to a great routine is how clean and together the group is! If the group does not dance like one, then all of the movements are off! I also think having a dance that is fun also makes it a great routine!!
HC ISU: What is the funniest moment from practice so far?
SL: It’s always really funny trying to teach girls how to body roll! After a few attempts of teaching it, we have to finally tell girls to do it in front of a mirror!
Name: Tess Anzalone
Hometown: Mt. Prospect, IL
Major: Interpersonal Communication
Sorority: Gamma Phi Beta
HC ISU: What made you decide to coach March Madness?
Tess Anzalone: I’ve participated in March Madness since my freshman year and I’ve loved dancing my whole life. I wanted to coach last year but my schedule was too busy and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to fully commit. My workload this semester is much more bearable so I decided to coach March Madness and it’s been such an incredible experience. I wouldn’t change my decision to coach for the world!
HC ISU: What is you favorite memory from practice?
TA: Practices have each been exciting yet extremely stressful at times. Since March Madness can get competitive, we try to squeeze as much work into each practice as we possibly can. My favorite memory of practice is when we would practice in the GPhi parking lot and random people would pass by and tell us how amazing the dance looked. It gave us confidence and got the girls super excited! Overall, each practice has been a blast and I wish we could do it all over again.
Names: Dina La Mantia, Kate Wangler, Sarah Spear, Mel Cartr
Dina – Downers Grove, IL
Kate – Batavia, IL
Sarah – Orland Park, IL
Mel – Batavia, IL
Dina – Sociology
Kate – Pre-Veterinary Medicine
Sarah – Special Education, Learning and Behavior Specialist
Mel – Elementary Education
Sorority: Sigma Sigma Sigma
HC ISU: How does your chapter choose a coach?
Dina: Women who want to become a coach will send in an application to our president and then she will pick them from the forms.
HC ISU: What is the best and worst part of coaching?
Dina: The best part of coaching is seeing how everything is put together at the end and seeing the women get more and more confident as we get closer to the performance. The worst part of coaching would be how much time it takes. I am a senior and in all major classes with tons of research papers but I would not change one bit about coaching this chapter though.
Kate: The best part of coaching is seeing the end product. All the long, hard practices were worthwhile. The worst part about coaching is how much time it takes up. I’m a junior, in my major classes and I work and coaching is just another thing on my plate but I wouldn’t change it for anything!
Sarah: Best part about coaching isbeing a part of piecing the whole performance together. Worst part about coaching is getting all the girls together for practice chooses our coaches during elections.
Mel: My favorite memory isWe do this thing where we split up into group and perform the dance for each other. Well, my group was going and all of my sisters were cheering and yelling my name while I was dancing and it made me feel so confident and loved by my sisters. It made all of the work and stress of being a coach completely worth it.
Name: Krista Guest
Hometown: Palatine, IL
Major: Elementary Education
Sorority: Zeta Tau Alpha
HC ISU: What was the most stressful part of coaching?
Krista Guest: The perfectionist side of my personality is a blessing and a curse when it comes to March Madness. One of the most stressful parts about coaching is the amount of time I spend thinking about the dance. The constant brainstorming of new ideas on how to make parts of the dance sharper, more energetic or visually appealing takes priority over different parts of my life. However, watching the dance progress and improve each week makes it all worth it.
HC ISU: What is your advice for future MM coaches?
KG: The creativity that comes out of the performances at March Madness is one of my favorite parts of the event. One piece of advice I have for coaches is to take risks when choreographing routines. Dare to bring new music, choreography and costumes to the stage that wows the crowd and gives them something they have never seen. The uniqueness of each routine brings out the personalities of the performers and pulls out the excitement from the members of the audience to create the enthusiastic atmosphere everyone raves about. Lastly, remember that all of the endless hours spent on creating the routine makes the show that much more special and goes towards raising money for such a wonderful philanthropy. Remember it’s all for the kids!
Name: Jori Stanton
Hometown: Buffalo Grove, IL
Major: Criminal Justice
Sorority: Phi Sigma Sigma
HC ISU: As the reigning champs, do you feel a lot of pressure as a new coach?
Jori Stanton: The coaches and I felt some pressure to step up our game this year, but we are happy and excited to see what everyone has to bring to the table. We love that we get to perform for a good cause and are excited for everyone to see our routine.
HC ISU: If you could choreograph with one celebrity, who would it be?
JS: I would love to actually choreograph with Chris Brown. He is an incredible dancer and it would be a great experience and opportunity to choreograph with him. He is an overall very talented and creative performer.
Name: Allison Jordan
Hometown: Minooka, IL
Major: Special Education
Sorority: Alpha Omicron Pi
HC ISU: What is your favorite part about coaching?
Allison Jordan: My favorite part of being a coach is the opportunity to get to know the girls better while coming together to do something as a team. It has been amazing spending so much time together and I am incredibly proud of them!
HC ISU: Being the new sorority on campus, what would you like people to know about AOPi?
AJ: Being the new sorority on campus, some things we want the readers to know include how excited we are to be a part of such a great Greek life and see how we can add to it in a positive way. We also hope to positively impact the community of Normal, and we can’t wait for the future opportunities!
Name: Katy Allen & Haley Southall
Katy – Springfield, IL
Haley – Wilmington, IL
Katy – Nursing and Spanish minor
Haley – Business Administration
Sorority: Alpha Delta Pi
HC ISU: How do you divide responsibilities among multiple coaches?
Kay & Haley: We shared responsibility for most of the work! We all sat down and choreographed together, picked out and ordered costumes, bought makeup and organized stage practices together. There were times that I would call and schedule practices or Haley would direct the group while I was doing something else. And as the head coach (and someone very focused on detail) I kept a huge binder of themes, ideas, formations and music to keep everything organized and kept together so we could stay on top of it all. It was a crazy time but we had a really good dynamic working together!
HC ISU: What is your favorite thing about your chapter?
KA & HS: My favorite thing about Alpha Delta Pi is the opportunities that it provided us with! As a member of executive board, Haley keeps really busy but loves being able to serve the chapter in many different ways. Katy really loves the people that she’s met and the amazing friendships