New name, same dancers

A calendar nets Queen’s Pom exposure

Queen’s Pom collaborated with Gaels football to produce a fundraising calendar earlier this year.
Queen’s Pom collaborated with Gaels football to produce a fundraising calendar earlier this year.
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Queen’s Pom is expanding their presence beyond the Richardson Stadium sideline.

A fixture at Gaels home football games, the dance squad has travelled to support the team on the road in the past. While they’re doing so again this weekend, their relationship with the football team changed with the release of a collaborative calendar this month.

The idea for the calendar came from Queen’s Pom’s sponsorship executives Chloe Van Landschoot and Hannah Koury. Shot last spring, it features photos of the girls on the team alongside several Gaels football players.

“This was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life, but was it ever rewarding when I saw those boxes come in,” Van Landschoot said.

According to her, a big part of getting the calendar together was bringing the football team onboard, which gave the venture extra exposure.

“If we didn’t have those guys on the calendar, we wouldn’t be so successful,” she said. “Queen’s football is an entity here. Everyone knows who they are.”

Because of its position as a recreational club, Queen’s Pom receives no funding from Queen’s Athletics or the University. By selling ad space inside the calendar, the club was able to bring in $3,000 in addition to the funds they’ll receive from selling the calendar on campus and at the football team’s remaining home games.

Not all the money is going towards the team, though. Five per cent of the proceeds raised from the calendar will be donated to the Emma Purdie Memorial Fund.

The charity hits close to home for Queen’s Pom. Purdie, a Queen’s student, was a member of the team when she passed away last summer due to an accidental fall.

“It definitely meant a lot to us,” said team president Amy Loyst. “We really wanted to have her be part of this calendar in some way, and that was the best way.”

The calendar isn’t the only way Queen’s Pom is spreading the word about who they are.

The team — which changed its name from the “Dance Pack” over the summer — knows there’s a great deal of confusion between them and the cheerleading squad, especially when casual observers see them at Richardson Stadium.

Members of Queen’s Pom said the two teams are fairly dissimilar, with the biggest difference being the actual routines performed. Rather than performing flips and stunts, Queen’s Pom focuses primarily on dance.

The club’s executive made the decision to change the name to better reflect these performances — and to set themselves apart.

“Dance Pack doesn’t describe what we do,” Loyst said. “There’s also a lot of dance-named clubs at Queen’s, like dance club, dance team. We changed it to better show who we are.”

In addition to their work at football games, Pom also competes in cheer competitions during the year.

The first event they’ll attend is the Big East Blast, which takes place in Kingston on Feb. 1 and serves as a lead-up to University and Open Championships, held a few weeks later in Kitchener. Queen’s Pom is undefeated in the last four years at the University Championships.

The team doesn’t see much competition from other universities. Toronto is the only other school competing in the Pom division at these events, with most other entries being club or high school teams.

In the last couple of years, Queen’s Pom has changed a great deal — and not just not in name.

“The skill level has gone up a lot,” Loyst said. “Our team has come a really long way since I first joined, and it’s all because of hard work from all the girls, and especially the executive members in the past three years.”

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