Thursday, June 21, 2012

Piper grad Raven Torez selected to KU Dance Team


Raven Torez didn’t have to wait for a “third time charm” to make the “Rock Chalk” dance team at the University of Kansas. She made it on her first try.

A May graduate of Piper High School, Torez is one of 22 KU women selected from 73 candidates for the elite dance squad that will perform at Jayhawk football and basketball games this coming academic year.

Considering that at least 16 of the candidates were carryovers from last year’s team, you could hardly blame Torez’ elation when she got the news of her selection.

“I was in shock, really surprised. A lot of emotions,” said Torez. “We had tryouts on Saturday and Sunday and I found out on Tuesday.”

Prior to the tryouts, dance clinics were offered and taught by the KU Rock Chalk Dancers and focused on technique, skills drills and pom technique. Skill requirements included quadruple pirouettes, fouette turns, leaps, kicks and the KU fight song.

All dancers were required to submit an audition routine, learn a jazz combo on-line and perform a hip hop combo at the tryouts. Many of the candidates were eliminated in two cuts made the first day.

“We were given a jazz dance to perform, learned the fight song and went through a personality interview,” says Torez. Final selections were based on skill performances, overall grade point average and interviews with the judges.

The daughter of Robin Torez, an administrative assistant in Human Resources at Kansas City Kansas Community College, and Bryan Torez, Raven started dancing at the age of three at Byrd’s Dance & Gymnastics in Kansas City, Kan. She also briefly attended Starstruck Performing Arts Center in Lenexa and has spent the last five years of dance at Kristi’s Academy of Dance in KCK under the direction Kristi Smith-High.

“I knew I wanted to be on a dance team in college and I knew I wanted to go to KU so I checked out the KU website for the criteria,” says Torez, who compiled a 3.0 grade point average at Piper.

A four-year member of Piper’s dance team, Torez was captain her senior year. She has one older brother, Bryan II, who recently returned from a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.