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The X Factor

April 10, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

There’s something therapeutic about dance.

Dance led author Kurt Vonnegut to once say, “Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.”

Georgia Tech’s softball team armed with an XBox 360, and big-screen TV, has found that the lounge of their training facility is close enough to a living room and has made it their personal dance hall.

The game is called Dance Central and allows players to test their dance moves. Contestants mimic the game’s dancer, who grooves to a variety of songs from a catalog that includes current artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, No Doubt and Snoop Dogg; classic dance hits like Kool and the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie,” Salt ‘n Pepa’s “Push It,” and Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” and eclectic artists like the Beastie Boys.

The game has become a big hit.

“It’s just a dancing game that has a camera. You don’t use controllers at all. You just stand in front of the camera and it follows what you do,” said junior Caitlin Jordan. “It’s fun to play and watch people make a fool of themselves. That’s pretty funny.”

Being competitors, they can’t help but compete at Dance Central. From just a small polling, one player has separated herself from the field.

“The best dancer is Jessica Sinclair,” said Jordan. “The worst, I’m not sure. We have a few bad dancers. I don’t know if I can pick out the worst one.”

“Probably Jessica Sinclair,” said sophomore Kelly Delashmit. “I’ll start dancing but if she comes around I get nervous and will be like, ‘Don’t look at me’ because she’s going to judge how I dance. She’s got some great moves and she’s always dancing for us and trying to get everybody involved. I’d have to say Jess because she’s real comfortable in dancing.”

Jessica Sinclair is pretty good,” said senior Christy Jones. “She takes the cake.”

“She’s a very good dancer, she has good rhythm and she makes everyone want to dance with her,” said Sinclair’s roommate, freshman Hayley Downs. “Me and Jess, we have a pretty good time dancing together. We’re always the ones getting people started.”

And what does the people’s choice say?

“I guess I can hold my own,” said Sinclair. “We get down in there. It’s a blast. It’s so much fun. I guess they say I’m one of the better dancers. I don’t know. But I know we love to dance around. We love to have fun whenever we can.

“We have some girls that can hold their own dancing,” she added. “We don’t really care what we look like, so we just kind of get in there and, like we do on the field, we give it our all, just dancing around, going crazy. We’re a family, so we don’t really care what we look like. If there are people self-conscious on this team they shouldn’t be because we don’t judge at all.”

Sinclair, although quite popular, wasn’t unanimous.

“I really haven’t gotten out there much but I think that I’m in first place, but I really don’t know,” said assistant coach Aileen Morales. “It’s always up for grabs but I like to think that I’m the best.”

Judging dance can be subjective. Take junior Caroline Hilton.

“I love her to death, but Caroline is probably the dancer who should show some discretion,” said Delashmit, with a laugh. “She always dances and she may look great, but she’s always just off-beat and she’s clapping off-beat and doing her own thing. But she’s comfortable in who she is. She loves to dance and she’s not worried about what we have to say about it.”

Hilton stated that there is a method to her madness when it comes to Dance Central.

“I hear that people have talked a little trash about how I’m not a very good dancer but I don’t know,” she said. “We did Lady Gaga and I got the highest score. So I may not look that coordinated when I do it, but in the end it’s all about the numbers and I get pretty good numbers.

“I think some people get up there and they want to look like they should actually look and dance good,” she added. “But the computer judges you on whether you can mimic the moves right. I can mimic the moves right. It doesn’t look coordinated, it’s not on the beat of the song, but I still get points.”

Hilton is also getting points from teammates.

“I think my favorite person to watch is Caroline,” said senior Kristen Adkins, who admitted she prefers to just cheer. “She’s a personal fave.”

“Caroline doesn’t have the rhythm that we all have but she gets the points on the XBox game,” said Downs. “I haven’t mastered that yet.”

In the end, Dance Central is all about fun.

“I’m not a great

dancer, but I don’t really care,” said junior Shannon Bear. ‘So I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”

“Sinclair is great. She’s awesome at it. But it’s just as much fun to watch her as it is to watch me,” Hilton said with a laugh. “It definitely brings us together to get people in there dancing.”

As far as who is the best dancer, there may be only one way to settle that.

“Maybe we need to set up a bracket and really find out who the true winner is,” suggested Jones.

Hilton says, ‘Bring it on!’

“Oh yeah, we totally need to have like April Madness in there on the XBox.”

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