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Thomas More student Diamond Vance switched to dancing after cheerleading her whole life

By Natalie Hamren
NKyTribune reporter

(Part of an occasional series on the area’s college students and how they are coping with the pandemic.)

Thomas More University sophomore psychology student Diamond Vance competitively cheered for most of her life. But, when she started college, she wanted a change of pace, so she started dancing for Thomas More.

Diamond Vance, cheerleader

Vance enjoyed being at games, cheering on teams, and school spirit. She knew she wanted to do something similar to cheerleading but also slightly different. Vance said cheerleading involves loud chanting for people to hear your routine, whereas dancing involves expressing emotions and excitement through your body.

Vance said she fell in love with cheerleading and dancing when she was younger. Her family would attend football games, and Vance said she would watch the cheerleaders. She was obsessed with their pom-poms, hair, and makeup. She told her mom she wanted to be a cheerleader.

“I love supporting people. I love being that smiling face bringing joy even when the team’s losing,” Vance said.

Despite her love for cheerleading, Vance said she got to the point where she did it so often, she became bored of it. She said she wanted to try something new that would challenge her.

“I always want to challenge myself to do something new or try something even though I’m not the best at it,” Vance said. “Just saying, ‘oh, I did that.’ It’s enough for me.”

Vance’s favorite part about dancing at Thomas More is the girls she dances with. She said if you’re around people you love, the task is fun no matter what. Vance said everyone on the team comes from various backgrounds, so it’s interesting to see how everyone blends together.

Diamond Vance, dancer

“There are people that come from around this area like me. There are people that come from farther away, like different parts of Ohio. It’s just nice to see different people’s backgrounds and their political views,” Vance said. “Just like the way other people think, it’s kind of interesting to have us all clash. We actually all enjoy this one thing, so we have this giant similarity. We’re all together creating friendships and stuff like that. It’s really nice.”

Vance said a typical game day consists of getting up early to do makeup, going to class and finishing her tasks for the day, eating, putting on her uniform, fixing her hair, then going to a friend’s dorm to help them with their hair and makeup. Once she’s ready to go, she said she typically arrives at the game an hour before to get ready, stretch, and practice any routines. Because of COVID-19, everyone on her team has to wear masks, so she said all the girls make sure they’re wearing masks before the game starts.

When Vance is dancing during a routine, she said she’s thinking about the next move, not messing up, breathing, and pushing through the remainder of the routine. Sometimes, she’ll think about what she’s doing to eat for dinner or what she will do after the game is done.

Outside game days, Vance has dance practice multiple times a week since she’s on the competition team. If there’s a competition coming up, there may be more practices added, Vance said.

Vance said she doesn’t mind the busy schedules, however.

“I actually am a person that thrives in chaos. Everyone’s like, ‘you’re so busy.’ I love it,” Vance said. “Because, for me, I am forced to time manage. I’m forced to prioritize. It’s like, ‘okay, I know I have this assignment. Do I know I have a game that day?’ I know I have all this stuff and it forces me like, ‘okay, this is the only time free time I have, so I have to get it done.’ It perfectly schedules itself when I have things to do already.”

Vance said her favorite memories from her time dancing at Thomas More have been team bonding. She said the team tries to get together once a month and hang out with each other. Sometimes, they go to the Cold Stone next to campus to get ice cream. Because of the pandemic, they’ve been hanging outside where they can safely social distance. She said the girls will joke around with each other, but also offer advice and encouragement—especially to the new girls on the team.

In the future, Vance doesn’t know where her dance career will go. She wants to go to graduate school when she finishes her undergraduate degree to get her doctorate degree.

“I’d love to if I could squeeze it in there and maybe find like maybe some way to maybe work out, like do Zumba classes and stuff like that,” Vance said.

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