|Hofstra University Dance Team: New Coach, New Philosophy Add to Continued Success|
A coaching change has taken place with the dance team at Hofstra. But the goals are still lofty and expectations remain high at the Long Island based institution. Leaving after last season was Tracy Perlman. Taking over and directing the team is Deborah Logozzo.
At Hofstra, a division one institution which moved from the America East to Colonial Athletic Association this year, the Cheerleading, dance team and baton twirling squad all have separate coaches. All, like Logozzo, are listed officially as part time, she is a graduate student at New York's John Jay College, but put full time (and then some) energy and enthusiasm into their respective positions. She has an assistant, Jill Borowski, who also serves in a part time capacity.
Logozzo is a true student of dance technique. We spoke at half-time of an early December game between Hofstra and Iona at New York's Madison Square Garden. Before beginning the interview, she politely requested to watch Iona's dance team perform (after Hofstra) during half-time. Logozzo watched with intent interest. Like any good coach in any sport , she is willing to watch, observe and take note of something she may incorporate into her own program.
The Hofstra dance team has been entertaining, talented and competitive on a national level for several years. Logozzo plans to keep that tradition going and even improve on the latter point.
Practices are five nights per week for a length of three hours per session. Conditioning is important but group workouts emphasize more. "We work a lot on style," Logozzo said. "We have a lot of new kids on the team, there's a new philosophy and we try to concentrate a lot on technique."
The dance team has been nationally ranked five straight years. Last season they finished fifth in the nationals at Orlando. Logozzo realizes expectations are demanding. So is she. "We have to take a look at a lot of things and improve on last year's (fifth place) finish. We do a lot of skill work, we regularly will invite trainers or other experts in for presentations. We really want to focus on next year's nationals."
While technique, finesse and style are important, by no means has the Hofstra program eased up on conditioning. Under Perlman, the workouts, conditioning wise were rigorous and even inspired slogans on the team's warm-up shirts. Logozzo, as noted , takes a different approach, but by no means eases up that much on the physical demands.
"Each member has to work out about twice a week for a total of about an hour and a half (per workout)," she said. "There is work in the gym plus a regimented training circuit." Included in that circuit are weight training, exercises and running. "Each member has to do twenty five push ups and run a mile in under nine minutes each week."
Logozzo is excited about the prospects of leading the Hofstra squad. So far, the team has bought into her philosophy and embraces the direction she is taking. She also spoke enthusiastically about a book due out by Christmas, 'Sharing the Spirit' , which is written with contributions from dancers and coaches and is geared, naturally, toward competitive dance. For the first year mentor these are exciting times. Her Hofstra squad shares the upbeat attitude and plans to see it all the way though to next Spring's nationals. "
About Ray Floriani: Ray Floriani has been writing college basketball for over twenty years. He is a columnist with Eastern Basketball magazine, Basketball Times and College Hoops Insider. In 1998 he was cited by the Gazelle Group for his work in covering the Coaches vs. Cancer events and was chosen 1999 NIT Media Man of the Year. Contact Ray Floriani.