The dance team is the fourth varsity program added at Merrimack College over the past 12 months, along with women’s bowling, men’s golf and men’s volleyball. The Athletic Department now sponsors 28 intercollegiate programs.
Formerly competing as a club sports program, the dance team has garnered regional and national recognition over the past decade. In 2022, the team made it to the podium for the first time in program history, finishing in third place at the NDA College Nationals while also receiving the Innovative Choreography Award. Additionally, the team has seen four dancers receive All-American honors: Tayleigh Tierney-Honan ‘22, Vanni Morello ‘23, Ava Mazzotta ‘25 and Josalyn Melendez ‘25.
The team provides pep and pride for the football, men’s and women’s basketball teams at nearly every home competition. It also performs captivating halftime routines and participates in fan engagement to provide a fun and exciting atmosphere for spectators.
On campus, the dance team has led several successful events and fundraisers. In the fall semester, the team hosts “A Day with MCDT,” where young dancers from across the Merrimack Valley learn a routine and perform with the team. Each spring the team holds its annual Spring Showcase where the dancers put together a variety of different pieces to showcase their talents.
The dance team has also participated in college and community service initiatives. Each year, the team takes part in Mack Gives Back, preparing meals for area community food pantries. The team is also present at all open houses and Admitted Students Days, providing a warm welcome to future Warriors.
Leading the dance team is Alina Porzio ’17, who entered her sixth season as head coach this academic year. She also serves as Merrimack’s manager of club sports. Porzio was a four-year member of the dance program and captained her junior and senior season. Also on the coaching staff are assistant coaches Carly Thayer ‘21, and volunteer assistant coach Bella Agnoletti ‘22.
Porzio has placed a strong emphasis on recruitment and program expansion. The team has grown from 17 to 45 dancers over her time at the helm, including the implementation of both a competitive and game-day program.
The dance team will compete in the upcoming college national championships at the beginning of April in Daytona Beach, FL.