In her seventh season, Bloomington Edge Dancer Alice steps up to the mike….

Alice now is the in-game host for both the Bloomington Edge and Central Illinois Drive hoops team

…or maybe more accurately, Alice steps upstairs with a mike. The Bloomington Edge Dance Team’s Alice is in her seventh season with the squad that performs at the Indoor Football League games, but 2012 has hardly been just another season for her. Since Alice was featured in UltimateCheerleaders last season, there have been some notable additions to her roles on and off the field. Off the field Alice is all done with school and is working at one of the local prominent health systems.

But Alice’s pro dance world is increasing its scope also. When the new owners puchased the former Bloomington Extreme, not only did they change the name to Edge, a Premier Basketball League team, the Central Illinois Drive, was added to the Bloomington sports scene. Before their season started, the Drive approached Edge Dance Team Coordinator Stacy Terry to create a dance squad for their in-game entertainment. So for Alice, adding another dance team? No problem! When Stacy approached the football dance team about joining the basketball version, Alice recalled their answer, “Of course we said, ‘Yep! We’ll do it!’” Compared to the Edge games, the Drive basketball Dance Team, Alice says, “We do more, I would say, pom and jazz than usual.”

Alice on the sidelines of a Central Illinois Drive game

Plus, for both the Drive and Edge, Alice is the announcer during in-game promotions. Going from the sidelines, Alice grabs a microphone and hits the stairs, heading up to the arena to be in the spotlight as she engages with lucky fans. “It’s exciting, I like doing it!” Alice says. And always immensely friendly and thoughtful to the fans, Alice even makes fans a priority when assessing her new role. About being in-game announcer, Alice comments, “I love it, I get to know the fans. In basketball, we don’t go (onto the court) after the games and interact with the fans, like we do with football, and so we really don’t get to know them. Now I get to go up there and meet some of them, I enjoy it a lot.”

Alice is devoted to dance in general, and loves having the opportunity to continue to perform with two Bloomington-based teams, and she has no plans to give it up. Alice smiles, “I am going to be here until they don’t take me or I can’t do it.” Asked if fans recognize her after seven seasons greeting and performing before, during, and after games, Alice says she hears, “‘You’re still here?’ Yep, still here. Hopefully that is a good thing.”

Alice is ready as fans ready to enter the doors prior to an Edge game

Continue reading “In her seventh season, Bloomington Edge Dancer Alice steps up to the mike….”

Bloomington Edge Dancer Rachel lives, and gives, a life of music

Rachel dances on the basketball court for the Central Illinois Drive Dance Team

As a musical director at an elementary school, Rachel utilizes the “Orff Schulwerk” method, which combines music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons that are similar to a child’s world of play. Rachel not only teaches this unified view of arts and life, she lives life with an “Orff Schulwerk” approach! With a degree in voice, playing guitar and piano, and having lead roles in plays, Rachel has added dancing for the IFL Bloomington Edge and PBL Central Illinois Drive Dance Teams to complete her own life of music. Singing, dancing, acting, teaching, and being a wife and mom to a little boy seem like way enough, but luckily for Bloomington’s indoor football and basketball fans, Rachel also takes her talents to pro cheer/dance. Rachel shared with UltimateCheerleaders parts of her musical life’s journey, including how performing in a play staged next to a zoo can provide unexpected sensory experiences, and why you might want to give her a call if you are planning a wedding.

Rachel is an Illinois native, as she recalls, “I grew up out in the country about forty-five minutes from the Bloomington area, in a small town called Fairbury. We had livestock when I was a kid, so I spent a lot of time out playing in the barn and with the animals.”

The animals probably heard some singing along the way, as music surrounded much of Rachel’s young life, as she remembers, “My mom plays the piano for church and my aunt sings with a small women’s group, as well as plays the piano. My mom worked Saturdays when I was growing up, so we used to go down to my grandma’s. She had a piano, so I would get out my mom’s and aunt’s old piano books and give little concerts in my grandma’s living room. I guess I was a self-inspired musician. The piano always interested me, the same with singing. I didn’t really go any further with singing until I was in Junior High. Then I joined chorus and did solo & ensemble. I think that was when my interest went more towards singing.”

While she was growing up, Rachel’s family dealt with the challenges of a caring for a loved one that required extensive attention. “I had one other sibling, Megan, who was born with a rare genetic disorder,” Rachel explains. “She was pretty much an infant her entire life. She could never walk or talk or do much on her own. In a sense, I was an only child, not that I didn’t have a sibling, but I never was able to do the things that most siblings get to do because her of disability. My parents spent much of their time taking care of my sister. My parents both loved me and I think that much of my independence as an adult comes from that experience as a child. She passed away when I was in eighth grade.”

But music provided Rachel an outlet for performance and creativity, and the life lessons to learn from mistakes, for instance in her first public singing performance. “In seventh grade I performed ‘Baby Mine’ from ‘Dumbo’ at Solo & Ensemble. I messed up the words and ended up getting a second place. I was really mad at myself for doing that. I don’t think I ever messed up any words after that.”

Rachel’s singing continued as she participated in various groups during high school in addition to her church choir. Rachel studied at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and sang with the University Singers, University Choir, and Women’s Glee Club, prior to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education.

Rachel’s musical talents also include playing piano and guitar, and applying her singing talents to the stage. “I took piano lessons starting in second or third grade,” explains Rachel. “I am an adequate piano player, but I guess my real passion is for singing. I did five musicals when I was in school: ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,’ a dancer in ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ Marty in ‘Grease,’ Sprintze in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ and my senior year, I was the Evil Step Mother in ‘Cinderella.’ I never really had any major rolls until I was an adult.”

“After college I was Peter Pan in ‘Peter Pan,’ Maria in ‘West Side Story,’ and Mrs. MacAfee in ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’” Rachel continues. “The funny part about that is first I did ‘West Side Story’ in 2007, and my leading man was a senior in high school, and I was 24 at the time. The worst part of it was that his dad was the director. It was kind of awkward kissing him. The weird part of it is that when I did ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ the dad was my ‘husband,’ playing Mr. MacAfee.”

So Rachel, when playing Peter Pan, did you get to soar over the stage? “Ha,” laughs Rachel. “No, I actually wore ‘wheelies,’ the tennis shoes that have the wheels in the back of them. The theatre is basically a garage on a big cement platform, so there are very limited special effects. It was outdoors and by the zoo. It was very hot during our performances, and if the wind was just right, you got a great whiff of the animals at the zoo.”

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“Let’s dance two!”: With Drive and an Edge, Bloomington dancers complete “unique” double-header

Stacy Terry and her Bloomington Edge Dance Team hang out with other performers prior to a halftime extravaganza

Dancing and cheering for two games on a Saturday is quite a feat, but throw in a previous Friday night game, and you have one dance-tastic marathon. So after dancing for THREE games in a just over a 24 hour period, the loved ones of the dancers for both indoor football’s Bloomington Edge and the Central Illinois Drive hoops team probably expected them to be more than a bit tired after the third game. And when the dancers arrived home and said that the halftime entertainment included monkeys riding dogs, their families probably thought some extended bed rest was in order. When the dancers completed the entire halftime description, “Monkeys riding dogs while herding sheep into a pen,” their loved ones must have considered reaching for the phone to determine the feasibility of hospitalization for exhaustion. But fear not; yes, the halftime of the evening’s Bloomington Edge IFL game was as described. Monkeys riding dogs that were herding sheep into a pen.

During halftime of the afternoon Drive basketball game, the Drive dancers "got next" after the monkeys and dogs rode off into the sunset

But the more miraculous feat was that six dancers performed for a Drive game on Friday night, another Drive game on Saturday afternoon, and then an Edge game Saturday night. Whew! Let’s take a look at this unique double-header of dance.

The double-header came about because there are some new sports team owners in Bloomington, Illinois. Jim Morris and Scott Henderson not only purchased Bloomington’s IFL franchise during the off-season, they started a franchise in the Premier Basketball League (that just won the league championship, by the way), the Central Illinois Drive. Both teams play at Bloomington’s US Cellular Coliseum. So, if you buy a football team with a superb dance team in place with Bloomington dance legend Stacy Terry running things as Dance Team Coordinator, what would you do for your new hoops team? Have Stacy create a dance team for basketball’s Drive, of course!

Adding a dance team to the Drive seemed natural, since one of the owners had his kids in dance at Stacy’s studio for years. But things had to happen fast to get it done. “We had a real short turn around,” Stacy recalled. “We only had two weeks to do an audition and start.” Was Stacy surprised that many of the dancers for football’s Edge would also want to be part of the basketball squad? Stacy smiles, “No, I knew they were going to.”

Drive dancers Amy and Amber perform prior to the afternoon's basketball game

Prior to the afternoon basketball game, Amber and Jess explained why they wanted to be on the Drive dance team in addition to being veteran Edge dancers. Amber laughed, “Because we love it,” and Jess added, “And we love each other.” There is a lot of overlap of the two squads, but Caitlyn and Lauren are rookies and dance for the Edge football side only.

And if a pro dance double-header was not challenging enough, due to spring break schedules, some dancers were out of town. Therefore, the double-header dancers had to learn a lot of routines, but with changes as to who was where during the dances. This switching up of formations meant re-doing the same dances with different people, which Stacy said was the toughest part. Plus, this season, for both Drive and Edge games, the dancers are performing extended halftime routines, new from last season. Prior to the Saturday afternoon Drive game, Stacy said, “They might be a little slap happy by game time tonight.”

Rachel and Sarah were handing out Drive player collector cards prior to the game. Sarah is usually only on the Drive dance team, but was going to fill-in also during that night’s halftime performance at the Edge football game. Did it seem a lot to Rachel and Sarah to have two games in one day? Sarah replied, “Yes and no. It’s a lot of dances to keep sorted out, which one we are doing which time.” Rachel chimed in, “And which way we are doing it.” Sarah added, “But we have plenty of rehearsals, so we are ready.”

Jess performs during the Drive game

Amy, Rachel, Alice, Amber, and Sarah enter for halftime performance at the Drive game

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Bloomington’s Fans are “Extreme-ly” Fortunate to Have Stacy Terry and her Extreme Dance Team

Extreme Dance Team (front) Kaitlyn, Jessica, Lindsay, Alicia, Amber, (back) Rachel, Coordinator Stacy Terry, Juliette, Alice, Cassie (current emcee and former Extreme dancer and Colts Cheerleader)(click to enlarge)

Extreme-ly talented, Extreme-ly dedicated, Extreme-ly supportive of their team, an Extreme-ly important part of the game day entertainment, an Extreme-ly visible role in the community, Extreme-ly gracious and hospitable, and Extreme-ly lovely. No wonder they are known as the Extreme Dance Team, in their sixth season supporting the IFL’s Bloomington Extreme indoor football franchise. The Extreme’s June 3rd game against LaCrosse provided an opportunity to meet Bloomington dance legend Stacy Terry, the Dance Team Coordinator, and her marvelous squad, plus Cassie, a former member of the Extreme Dance Team, who ventured to NFL territory and cheered for a Super Bowl team, and now is back with a new role during the Extreme home games.

The dedication of the squad starts at the top with Stacy, who has been running the Extreme Dance Team since the inception of the franchise. Stacy has run a dance studio in Bloomington for decades, and all of the members of her current squad spent time taking classes at Stacy’s Dance Factory during their dance training. So dance expertise is one aspect, but it does not take long to see that Stacy is more than that; she is a true and devoted fan of the Extreme football team.

Stacy and mascot Spike; you can see the excitement in Spike's face, it was his bobblehead night

Stacy is from the central Illinois area, as she recalls, “I was born in Peoria, Illinois. I grew up dancing, started classes in Peoria when I was four. By the time I was fourteen, I was teaching my own classes. I knew I always wanted to open a studio, but my parents insisted I go to college. After high-school, I came to Bloomington to attend Illinois State. I graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice.” But it would be a crime if Stacy did not pursue her love of dance, as Stacy says, “I graduated from ISU and then opened my own studio the following fall in 1983. My favorite type of dance is jazz or tap but I do them all.” Stacy is married, with a son and step-son, and in her non-dance time, Stacy says, “I enjoy being a mom, teaching Sunday school, and spending time with friends on my off time. I am usually really busy at work so my free time is limited.”

And one of the things keeping things busy for Stacy is working with the Extreme. After years in the Bloomington community, it was natural that Stacy would lead the Extreme’s dance team when arena football came to town. Stacy remembers, “I was acquainted with some people that were involved with the team its first season. I contacted them and offered my services. I have been doing it ever since. I enjoy working with the girls each season. Some have been with the squad all six years (note: see the recent interview with these six year vets Alice and Alicia).” A great aspect of this role, Stacy says, is, “At my studio, I work with mainly children, so it is refreshing to work with dancers a little older and in a more professional setting.”

Stacy's Extreme Dance Team performs during this season's last home game

Stacy is involved with a lot of the inner workings of the franchise, including selecting uniforms for her squad, as Stacy says, “The general manager and I pick out the uniforms each season. We look for a design that compliments the squad as a whole.” For the future of the Extreme Dance Team, Stacy states, “My goal is to continue to get the team involved in as many community activities as possible to help promote the team. I feel they dance team is important to the reputation of the team as much as the players.”

While other teams and cities have struggled with the strain of tough economic times, the Extreme has survived and is growing in local support, as Stacy says, “It has been incredible to see the increase in support each year from the fans in Bloomington. The Extreme is the closest thing we have to a pro football team in our area. Other cities close by have had teams but they no longer exist. We are fortunate to have had the fan base to allow us to continue to succeed in Bloomington.”

Before the gates open, the Extreme Dance Team practices first half routine

Two hours prior to kickoff and before the crowds converged on Bloomington’s US Cellular Coliseum, Stacy, with the boom box of music in tow, and the Extreme Dance Team hit the field in their warm-ups to practice their two between quarter routines. The routine between the first and second quarter required more repetition, as Stacy knew the squad had their second routine, to be performed between quarters in the second half, well under control. Then the squad headed to the locker room to get prepped for greeting the fans as they entered the arena. On this night, mascot Spike’s bobble heads were free for the first 2,000 fans, and the Extreme Dance Team not only handed them out, but Stacy and the squad were right on it, affixing the labels to the boxes to prepare the memorabilia for distribution.

Lindsay hands out bobbleheads while Stacy and Jessica prepare the boxes

Continue reading “Bloomington’s Fans are “Extreme-ly” Fortunate to Have Stacy Terry and her Extreme Dance Team”

Bloomington’s Alice and Alicia are the “Most Extreme” Dancers in the Indoor Football League

Alicia (front left) and Alice (front right) during the Bloomington Extreme home game against LaCrosse

For six seasons, Bloomington, Illinois has been home to the “Extreme” of the Indoor Football League (IFL), and for all six seasons, the Extreme Dance Team has been entertaining fans and cheering on the team. And for each of those six seasons, Alice and Alicia have been the one constant, the only members of each and every edition of the Extreme Dance Team, hence the “most Extreme” dancers in the league. If there was a Mount Rushmore carved to celebrate the Extreme Dance Team, Alice and Alicia be the first two set into the stone. Alice and Alicia graciously agreed to participate in an interview with prior to the Extreme’s June 3rd game against LaCrosse in Bloomington. Like their first names, there are a lot of similarities between Alice and Alicia, but also some interesting differences. For instance, one of them has never had an embarrassing moment on the field, whereas the other blacked out during a routine, but it fit in perfectly with the choreography.

Alicia (left) and Alice (right)

Another difference is that Alice has been dancing on stage since she was a teeny tike, whereas Alicia started a bit later. Alice says, “I think I probably came out of the womb dancing! I was first inspired to dance while watching my older sister perform in dance competitions. I knew, from an extremely young age, that I wanted dance to influence the remainder of my life. I started dancing at two years old and by the age of five, I was choreographing my own solo routine with the Owner/Head Instructor of Rogers School of Dance in Pennsylvania.” Alice mentions in her on-line bio that she won a dance contest at age five, winning a trophy taller than she was. Does she remember the song and experience? “I absolutely remember the song, ‘Dinosaur Rock n’ Roll’ and even remember most of the routine! My dance instructor from Pennsylvania and I named the routine ‘Alisaurus’, a take-off of my name and the nature of the song. At my very first solo competitive event debuting ‘Alisaurus,’ I was awarded first place in my category. I was also awarded ‘Overall Top Score’ of the entire competitive event that included dancers from all over and up through 18 years of age. I still have that ‘Overall Top Score’ trophy, which stood taller than me, showcased with my other trophies and medals. I remember being a little nervous for my solo debut; however, I was so excited to showcase my choreography. My family was so ecstatic, supportive and had so much faith in me. They have always believed in me and that means the world to me!”

Alice and Alicia, second and third from left

For Alice, dance is not just a solo activity, she has been part of many dance and cheer groups prior to being part of the Extreme Dance Team, explaining, “I have pursued all types of dance teams including competitive dance teams, musical theater dance teams and ballet companies. My cheerleading experience dates back to a young age when I participated in competitive cheerleading. I continued my love of cheerleading throughout all six years of my junior high and high school career. Each of these years, I was selected as Captain of my cheerleading team and privileged to be named an All-Star Cheerleader by the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA). I thoroughly enjoy the sport of cheerleading, the athleticism required, and the camaraderie with fellow teammates. I currently serve as the Head Competitive Cheerleading Coach for a local cheerleading team and feel so fulfilled and grateful to be able to teach children what I love to do.”


Alicia shares her contrasting dance journey, “My dance story is a little different than most. I didn’t even know I wanted to dance until junior high, whereas most people dance from a very young age. When I was going into 7th grade, I decided to participate in poms, which at the time did not hold tryouts. The squad was over 90 girls and we took up the entire gym floor at basketball games. I haven’t stopped since then! Dance is my number one stress reliever and has always made me feel good about myself. I absolutely cannot imagine my life without dance at this point. It brings me pure fun and joy and I always try to make that come across when I perform. My favorite type of dance is hip hop. I love the music, the hard hitting motions and the attitude I get to portray!”

Alicia (left) and Alice (right)

Both Alice and Alicia were born outside of Illinois, but from different directions. Alicia started her life in bluegrass country, recalling, “I was born in Lexington, Kentucky because my dad was going to seminary school. We moved to Quincy, Illinois when I was still an infant because my dad got a job as a pastor of the Free Methodist church. We then moved to Bloomington because both of my parents are from here and they wanted to be closer to family. I have lived here since I was four.” Alicia remained in the area for college, as she adds, “I went to Heartland Community College on a scholarship and majored in Elementary Education and later transferred to Illinois State, graduating in 2009. I got engaged a week before graduation and planned a wedding and got married during my first year of teaching. Last year I taught first grade and now teach second grade.” Alicia now teaches in the same school district that she attended from elementary to high school.


Continue reading “Bloomington’s Alice and Alicia are the “Most Extreme” Dancers in the Indoor Football League”

Bloomington Extreme Announce Extreme Dance Team Tryouts

The Bloomington Extreme and Extreme Dance Team Director Stacy Terry, owner of Stacy’s Dance Factory, have set the tryout date for the 2011 Bloomington Extreme Dance Team, presented by Extreme Motors and Stacy’s Dance Factory. Auditions will take place on Saturday, December 11 from 12 – 2 pm at The Workout Company, located at 419 Kays Drive, Normal, IL.


Qualified candidates must comprise skills in hip-hop, stylized jazz/technique and pom along with the passion to entertain, be a respected role model, learn, and be in the public eye. Dancers must be at least 18 years of age as of February 15, 2011. Registration forms can be picked up at Stacy’s Dance Factory, 3 Towanda Service Road, Bloomington, IL, or at the Bloomington Extreme’s Administrative Office, 2201 Eastland Drive – Suite 3, Bloomington, IL. Registration forms are also available online at There is a non-refundable registration fee of $15. Completed registration forms can be sent or dropped off to the Bloomington Extreme office along with a check or cash for the audition fee by Wednesday, December 8, 2010

[Bloomington Extreme Dance Team]