We all think of iconic figures during black history month, but Marisa Grayson, the only African American on the dance team, thinks of her father who is her inspiration and biggest supporter with the dance team and all that she does. [caption id="attachment_15682" align="alignleft" width="150"] Along with her fellow Mystics dance members, Marisa Grayson struts her stuff on the court.
Jason Brown | Photo Contributor[/caption]
Grayson began dancing when she was four years old and carried over her experience to high school. After high school she was unsure if she wanted to continue dancing for a college.
“I was more focused on getting used to college and figuring out what all went on.” Grayson said.
But after a friend persuaded her to go to tryouts she quickly realized her dancing career was not over and joined the team.When comparing differences between high school and college dancing Grayson said “college is a lot more hands on and we actually dance with the band. That’s something we didn’t do in high school. In high school Grayson said the dancers had much more control when it came to cutting their own music and making up their own dances. Now at the college level they’re told what they will be dancing to and may not know until the week of.
The Missouri Western dance team participates in basketball and football events as well as parades during the fall.
“I wish we had more spirit, I’m a really peppy person.” Grayson said when asked what she would like to see change at Missouri Western. “When I go to a school I like to wear their colors proud.”
She believes this is something that is already improving and could be seen during the final home playoff game last football season.
“Standing on the sideline and looking up in the crowd I could see more black and gold than grey from the concrete.”
As a full time student majoring in physical therapy and minoring in sports science, as well as a member of the dance team, Grayson has to manage her time to find room for both.
“Everyone on the team has busy schedules. Some of us work, some of us don’t. But we all get each other’s struggles, and we’re all patient with one another. It’s kind of like a family I guess you could say.”
With Grayson’s busy schedule she is still able to reflect not only on her family within the dance team, but also her family at home. She says that her father is the most inspirational person in her life.
“Everywhere we go my Dad gets stopped by people and they’re always like ‘you’ve done a great job raising your girls, and that just means a lot to me because my mom died when I was 9 so it’s just been me my dad and my sister since then. For people to realize what he’s done for me and my sister is really important to me.”
With the support of her family Grayson wants to keeping working through school and with the dance team and eventually move to Chicago to work on a professional sports team’s physical therapy crew.
But until then she lives by the main quotes of her father: “You have all your life to work, do what you love while you’re young.”