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February 06, 2006 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4

t's 8:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, and
Michigan volleyball players are
strolling into Cliff Keen Arena for
practice. Some wear jeans, and some
wear sweatpants and slippers. A bag of
volleyballs sits untouched on the floor.
They won't be used at all. The nets
stand in the middle of the court, but
nothing will be bumped, set or spiked
over them tonight. Instead, the nets
will serve as a visual aid.
"This is stage right," senior captain
Erin Cobler calls out, pointing to the nets.
"We're going to go on and off there."
The team is having its final night of
practice before Mock Rock. Song selec-
tion, choreography and costume deci-
sions have already been made. Right
now, the athletes just want to get the
moves down and clean up the routine.
The team decides to name its perfor-
mance "Michael Jackson ... again," as
a way to poke fun at itself. Two years
ago, the team had such success with
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" that it
decided to do it again for last year's
Mock Rock.
"Last year, we wanted to try it again,"
Cobler said. "It was just terrible. No
one laughed. Everyone was just like 'I
can't believe they did it again.' "
This year, the routine starts out with
Michael Jackson's "Black and White,"
and everyone strikes a dramatic pose.
After a few lines of the song and some
silly dance moves, sophomore setter
Mara Martin stages a fall and exclaims,
"Wait, Michael Jackson ... again?" and
the music stops.
With the jokes aside, it's time for the
real routine to get started.
A battle of pop songs ensues, with
Britney taking on Christina, N Sync
fighting the Backstreet Boys and Han-
son dueling with Outkast. But some-
thing's different. Some of the dancers
aren't volleyball players - they're not
even women.
Taking fan participation to a whole
new level, four of the performers are
guys from the volleyball student cheer-
ing section, the Zone. When the routine
was being put together, the team decided
it wanted some male acts in the dance
to perform the female parts. Since every
Mock Rock performance is looking for
one thing - laughter - the volleyball
team figured it could get it by playing
with gender roles.
"We hear their cheers during match-
es, so we knew they were really funny
guys," Sarah Draves said. "We just
think they're hilarious."
For Zone member Alex Gebhart - who
busted out the short skirt, knee socks and
nniiQ fn r n rnmicna rnnditrn f "RPnhv

fter their usual weight lifting
session, the players take quick
showers and start to get ready
for the night. They put on their one
glove and strike their Michael Jack-
son poses for a quick run-through.
This last-minute dress rehearsal is the
first time they've all been together in
costume. The Zone guys reveal short
skirts, tiny tank tops and funny wigs,
much to the delight of the players who
are practicing their own high-speed
costume changes.
SI'm more
nervous
than before
a match!
- Sophomore Katie
Bruzdzinski
"You guys look awesome!" Martin said.
Everyone continues to cheer on their
fellow dancers as they practice, but
the light-hearted mood from the night
before is gone.
"Is this funny?" many of the players
ask each other as they work out some
of the last few kinks. A few more dance
moves are added to the routines, hop-
ing to add a bit of comedy to the act.
Sophomore Katie Bruzdzinski is
noticeably hesitant to play her part
in the Hanson routine, doubting the
comedic value of her performance, but
her teammates assure her the act will
garner many laughs. Bruzdzinski's
long hair is perfect for mimicking the
lead singer and middle Hanson brother,
Taylor, the flannel shirt, cardboard gui-
tar and drum set made of a bucket will
help draw laughs too.
After a couple more run-throughs, it's
time to organize rides to Hill and head to
the show. Excited chatter fills the cars as
the players try to find parking and calm
their nerves at the same time.
Arriving at the auditorium, the
athletes filter into the left side of the
venue, where a sectioned-off group

he scene backstage is a wild
frenzy of people going in and
out with music blaring from the
stage. Two large doors are the only
things that separate this hidden circus
from the audience. Many crowd around
the two large peepholes in the doors,
trying to see what's happening on the
stage and also getting a feel for the
audience's response. When the water
polo team finishes up its act, players
run off stage out of breath and relieved
to be done. One more act to go.
The volleyball players and Zone
members neatly place their costumes
around the cramped room and make
sure everything is set up perfectly for
the lightning-speed changes they will
soon have to make. With all props in
place, the volleyball team takes some
time for a final rehearsal.
"Seriously, you gotta shake it,"
junior Danielle Pflum advises her
teammates from her stance on her
crutches. She has to sit out the perfor-
mance because of an injury, but still
dresses in the black and white cos-
tume of her teammates.
Trying to calm their nerves, a few
players dance around to the Will Smith
songs playing from the stage.
"I'm more nervous than before a
match!" Bruzdzinski exclaimed.
The group then comes together in a cir-
cle, all putting their hands in. Sophomore
Stesha Selsky pumps up the circle and
gives them a few more tips. When Sel-
sky's pep talk ends, the group shouts, "Go
Blue!" and gets ready to head on stage.
The men's track and field team fin-
ishes up its act - which seems to last
forever - and the audience roars with
a standing ovation. The judges award
the team multiple scores of perfect
tens, which will add up for a first-
place finish.
It's a tough act to follow, but the
volleyball players take the stage and
strikes their familiar Michael Jackson
poses. "Black and White" booms from
the speakers, and it's time to begin.
As Martin does her bit, Zone member
Devin Hurst runs out in a black suit
and wig ready to do his version of Janet
Jackson's "Escapade."
With Hurst alone onstage, the rest of
the performers sprint backstage, and
a flurry of clothing overwhelms the
room as simple Michael Jackson danc-
ers transform into the members of boy
bands. The acts continue to fly by, with
dancers running on and off excitedly.
"Go, go, go!" they shout as the cue for
their entrance arrives. Players are pushed
out onstage, still fastening the belt to
their oversized jeans. The few who are
already dressed try to see through the
peepholes to watch each other.
When the Hanson group is on the
stage, it runs around just like the teen-
age rockers did in their music video for
"Mmmbop." Running back when the
segment is done, Bruzdzinski breathes
a sigh of relief.
"They laughed!" she says.
The act finishes with the entire group
on stage for the Spice Girls' "Wan-
nabe." Everyone hits one last pose, and
with that, it's over. They run offstage
and huddle around the open doors,
waiting for the judges' reactions.
"It looks like they threw it together
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6

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