In 2017, Missouri Southern State University underwent budget cuts, which included The Southern Gold dance team.
Things changed this fall, as the team has returned under the academic department, rather than athletics.
Dr. Paula Carson, vice president for academic affairs, said by listing the team as a class, it allowed University officials to slowly rebuild the program.
“We have music and we have theatre, but we don’t have dance,” Carson said. “We have a couple dance studios, but no program.”
Initially, Carson served as the group’s adviser.
Carson said the group grew out of a desire of students, who had been in dance their entire lives, to find a creative outlet.
Carson said the two biggest obstacles officials faced in restarting the group is a time when everyone could meet for the class, and finding someone suitable to serve as the adviser.
She said students agreed to meet at 6 a.m., for the hour and 45-minute class, led at first by Carson and Faustina Abrahams.
Then Melissa Harrison, who was hired to work in the ACT’s department, emerged as a potential leader.
Harrison, who had previously worked as a dance coach, met the requirements needed for an adviser.
“If it were not for the girls who came forward and said is there anything we can do, we will do anything, there would be no dance team,” said Carson, who added she impressed by team members.
Carson said she believes the dance team is important to the University experience at Missouri Southern.
She views the team as an outlet for team members to express themselves creatively.