From a field of nearly 200 women, nine were selected as finalists in the Toronto Raptors’ ‘Pick the Pack’ contest. Former Mustang Jamie Hoffeldt is one of them.
Hoffeldt, a 23 year-old kinesiology and sports management grad with a dance minor, spent two years with the Mustangs cheerleading squad, as well as two with the Dance Pack.
A dancer since the age of two, Hoffeldt couldn’t imagine stopping once high school was over. She had long since adapted to the rigorous schedule her hobby required, and embraced the busy lifestyle.
“I would dance every Monday to Friday from 4:30 in the afternoon until 10 at night,” she said. “Then on the weekends I would teach dance to the young ones [in] the town of Markham.”
While dancing was her passion, it wasn’t always easy for Hoffeldt to continue with it. Growing up, she commuted first from Aurora, and then from North York, to Markham in order to dance. She finally moved there when she was in grade nine, and it allowed her to focus even more effort on dance.
Hoffeldt said that one of the sadder moments in her life occurred after she finished her final recital in grade 12. This caused her to search the web, trying to find a dance team at Western University, which she would be attending that fall. Since the Dance Pack was relatively new at that point, she couldn’t find it online. So, she took the next best option.
Hoffeldt called the cheerleading coach here at Western, and thanks to her dancing background was encouraged to try out.
Hoffeldt went, and she said that it was more intense than she expected.
“It was the craziest tryout I’ve ever been to [. . .] I actually could not walk for a week following it. But [the coach] must have seen something, because I made it.”
After cheerleading for two years, Hoffeldt took her third year off, and said she missed being on a team. This led to her joining the Dance Pack in her fourth year, where her prior experience landed her the role of captain. Hoffeldt said this renewed her love for dance, and in her fifth year she got the opportunity to not only continue dancing, but to practice her managing skills under the guidance of head coach Elizabeth Morgan.
It was during this time that Hoffeldt’s opportunity arose. She became involved with the London Lightning dance team, which was a partnership between the basketball squad and Morgan’s studio, Expressions Dance Arts. Morgan oversaw the creation and maintenance of the team. It was here that Hoffeldt learned about a contest to become a member of the Toronto Raptors’ dance pack.
Hoffeldt said she didn’t really consider it at first.
“It was actually a last minute decision to try out. I was away in Florida and got home the day before, and I was like you know what, I’m just going to go and try out.”
And she was glad she did, as she was rewarded with a spot in the finals. Contestants now have until August 30 at noon to get as many people as possible to vote for them. The dancer with the most votes wins the final spot with the Raptors.
Hoffeldt said she has a lot of supporters—none more than right here at Western. She said she’s received an outpouring of support from the cheerleading squad, Dance Pack, all the Mustang athletes, and even the employees at The Wave, where she worked during her undergrad.
And of course, Hoffeldt is thankful for the school itself, which gave her the opportunity to continue her passion.
“Make sure you get involved in what you’re passionate about, because it allows you to find a place that you can call your home at Western,” she said. “Being such a big school, it’s really, really important.”
The contest runs until August 30 at noon. Click here to cast a vote.