Sac State’s Dance Team is all heart and passion when performing

Hornet Girlz will perform at the Causeway Classic


Eucario Calderon

The Sac State Dance Team practicing a dance routine at Yosemite Hall on Friday, Nov. 15. To prepare for their performances, the dancers practice for three hours every Tuesday and Friday to perform throughout the semester.

Ashton Byers

Pouring rain. Soaking wet, ruined hair. Smeared makeup.

No matter the circumstances, Sacramento State’s Hornet Girlz dance team always performs.

Julia Hernandez, a 21-year-old junior majoring in nutrition and food, has been dancing since she was 3. Hernandez has a background in ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop. She has been on the dance team for three years.

“It was pouring rain,” Hernandez said, recounting her most memorable moment on the dance team. “We all had to have our hair done before and we just looked like little rats, but we all looked the same.” 

The Sac State Dance Team, also called the Hornet Girlz, provides the athletics department with entertainment during games, but they are more than just performers. 

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Dance team director Jolie Roberts trains the dancers in technique and fitness as well as how to be ambassadors for the dance team, representing Hornet athletics and the university at large. 

Roberts, a classically-trained dancer from Sacramento, has been teaching for 16 years. Roberts began coaching the Sac State Dance Team in 2003 and joined the Art Department full time as an administrative support coordinator this year. 

“Part of my responsibility is to mentor these student athletes to become articulate individuals who can interview well for jobs and future career opportunities, audition well, improve academic performance, and be of service to our community,” Roberts said. “The dancers on the team know that they will be pushed both in the area of dance and personal growth.” 

Mikeila Magbual is a 22-year-old liberal studies major with a background in ballet and dance. Her fourth year on the dance team, Magbual wants to be recognized on campus as a student athlete. 

“Because we put on our makeup we are seen in a different light,” Magbual said. “We are student athletes, I think a lot of people forget that.” 

The dance team provides an outlet for the girls, allowing them to better themselves as students through their athletic skills.

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“(The dance team is) how a lot of us thrive and do well in school,” Magbual said. “Having (the) release of stress and anxiety, it made me a better student.” 

The team’s performances change depending on the sport they perform at. During football games, the Hornet Girlz go to tailgates and interact with the fans and families. During basketball games, they are on the sidelines of the court, but still interact with fans. 

To prepare for these games, the dancers practice for three hours every Tuesday and Friday throughout the semester. Aside from football and basketball, they also perform for baseball and volleyball games as well. 

Zoe Lozano, a 20-year-old civil engineering major with a hip-hop background, is in her third year performing with the Hornet Girlz. She said the program offers her an outlet at Sac State other than simply academics.

“I love Sac State, the climate is very diverse, I feel most at home here,” Lozano said. “If I wasn’t on the dance team I’d treat it like a high school 2.0.”

The uniforms vary day-to-day depending on what style of dance they are performing. The team is known for its sparkly gold dresses, but new green uniforms were unveiled this year.

“Let me show up in my gold dress, fishnets and white boots, and be like I’m ready to learn,” Lozano said about the uniform.

“It’s cool being recognized on campus,” Hernandez. “It’s like, ‘We see you guys, don’t think that you are underappreciated.’”

Similar to team bonding in any sport, the Hornet Girlz have developed what they call a “sisterhood.”

They go camping together, learn routines then return to teach the rest of the team. They run the dances over and over again to make sure everyone is on beat. They establish a set of ten sidelines and choreograph halftime shows that are different every time.  

The Causeway Classic will be held at Hornet Stadium on Nov. 23, their final home football game of the season. The Hornet Girlz Dance Team will perform during the halftime show, as well as from the sidelines.