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She's got spirit: Caroline King leads N.C. State's dance team

By Susan Shinn

Salisbury Post

If you look closely during the Wolfpack basketball games this season, you might see a hometown girl take to the floor during time- outs and halftime.

Caroline King of China Grove, a senior at N.C. State University, is a four-year member of the school dance team. This year, she’s serving as captain of the 19-member squad.

Caroline, 21, has been dancing since she was 3, and she wanted to continue with her avocation once she got to college.

Her freshman roommate was a member of the dance team, and Caroline decided to try out as well.

The dance team performs at all home football and basketball games.

“It’s been challenging,” Caroline says. “We’ve gotten new coaches almost every year.”

This year’s coach is Erica Holmes of Greensboro, a dance team alum.

“It’s a big commitment for her,” Caroline says. “She really loves it or she wouldn’t do it.”

The same goes for the members of the varsity dance team.

National competition is a focus for the team throughout the year.

Last year, the team finished third nationwide. The team placed second in this year’s preranking.

“What we really work for is a paid bid to the nationals,” Caroline explains. “We’re not considered a sport (through the university). We have to have money to get that bid. It’s a major expense.”

(Teams placing in the top five get hotels and air fare paid.)

Being a member of the dance team is also a major time commitment.

“It literally feels like I’m adding six semester hours to my schedule,” Caroline says.

The team practices three hours a night, four nights a week.

Caroline has taken a full academic load at State.

“I’ve been busy my whole life, so it hasn’t been too much of a change,” she says.

“Caroline is one of our Fabulous 15 dancers,” says Sandy Overcash, owner of Center Stage Dance Co. in China Grove. “She was a dancer who came at age 3 and stayed the duration through high school.

“She’s got great style. She’s got great body lines — very long legs, very physically fit.”

Caroline began dance competition at age 6 and solo at age 8.

“Caroline was the life of the party in dance class,” her former instructor says.

Caroline is the daughter of Alan and Joy King, both longtime educators in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Joy King teaches second grade at Millbridge Elementary School. Alan King recently completed an interim principalship at North Rowan Middle School.

Caroline is majoring in business and marketing education, so she may teach. Right now, though, she’s leaning toward a career in business.

“I’d like to get workforce experience first and then teach about it,” she says.

Caroline has done volunteer and community service work through the dance team. The team participates in the Juvenile Diabetes Walk, and has collected school supplies for children at Christmas.

Caroline is not looking forward to leaving the team when she graduates this spring.

“It’s gonna be a big change,” she says. “My best friends are on that team.”

Those who have already graduated have told her, “Enjoy your last year. When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Caroline may eventually teach dance, as she’s done before, because she wants to stay involved.

For now, she’s concentrating on getting a “real job.”

She’s starting the job application process this month. She says she’d like to live in either Raleigh or Charlotte.

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Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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