'Interlude Dance' becomes a UNI phenomenon

By DANIELLE KRULL/Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Updated: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Basketball Dance

CASSANDRA HAYNE/Northern Iowan

UNI students perform “The Interlude Dance” during a women’s basketball game on Jan. 21.

"Interlude" is not just a techno song by the metal band Attack Attack! It's also become a dance phenomenon at University of Northern Iowa. UNI students can be seen performing the dance during basketball games in the McLeod Center.

The dance was created and videotaped by friends Ian Goldsmith, a junior theatre and psychology major; Scott Connerley, a senior history education major; and Tyler Wright, a junior technology education major. The dance consists of moves such as hand claps, waving of the arms, sparkles, ninja robots and "Jersey Shore" fist pumps.

The "Interlude" has also become a YouTube sensation – gaining more than 11,000 hits as of press time.

The dance, first called the "Gruff Dance," was created by Wright after he heard about "Interlude" through a friend. After hearing the song, he started to wave his arms and came up with other various dance moves.  

"It allows you to move freely," Wright said of the unique sound of the song.

Connerley heard the song last spring and thought it was "so much fun." Later, Goldsmith was brought into the mix.  

It wasn't until the summer of 2010 when both Goldsmith and Connerley went to China that they came up with the final product, now called "The Interlude Dance."

When Goldsmith and Connerley returned to campus this fall, they taught the dance to the Resident Assistants in Campbell Hall and started to make a regular appearance at Campbell Hall dance parties.  

Goldsmith then decided to take to take the dance one step further by approaching the UNI's Athletic Marketing Department to ask if they could perform the dance at one of the games.  

"The initial reaction was indifferent," said Eric Hrubes, assistant director of marketing for UNI Athletics. "We were hesitant because we didn't want just two people at a game doing the dance."  

In response to Goldsmith's inquiry, the UNI Athletic Marketing Department proposed a challenge to Goldsmith, Connerley and Wright: if they brought a large student group to last Friday's women's basketball game, they would be able to perform the dance.  

"The three guys rose to the challenge," Hrubes said. "They brought over 75 students to the women's game. That is probably the largest group I've seen at a women's game."  

"The Interlude Dance" made its debut last Friday during halftime. The energy of the student body captured the attention of UNI Athletic Director Troy Dannen, a 1989 graduate of UNI. Shortly after seeing the students perform, he asked the marketing department, "Could the students perform the dance again at the men's game against Drake?"  

On Jan. 22, "The Interlude Dance" made its second appearance at the McLeod Center. UNI men's basketball coach Ben Jacobson and UNI women's basketball coach Tanya Warren expressed how much they enjoyed seeing students so enthusiastic during games.

The dance is not just a hit at UNI basketball games. It has made appearances at family reunions, Iowa State University and a UNI Admissions party.  

"The instruction video of ‘The Interlude Dance' has been sent out via mass e-mail to the UNI students so they could learn the dance and bring even more of the same energy shown at both last week's game to future games," Hrubes said.  

Both Hrubes and Dannen agreed that they hope this dance motivates more students to come and support UNI's women's and men's basketball teams.

"The students are the ones who create (the) atmosphere at the games, and the atmosphere can't get any better," Dannen said. "I've never seen this much excitement at any (sporting) event here at UNI coming from students since I've been in school."

"When the students generate all this excitement the energy spreads to the rest of the stadium," Hrubes said. "Little kids pick up on it, which then spreads to the adults. I hope this type of enthusiasm coming from the student body doesn't die down."

Goldsmith feels that the dance promotes the "I am UNI" campaign through a sense of identity. Goldsmith, Connerley and Wright hope "The Interlude Dance" tradition continues long after they graduate from UNI.     

"No one person is ‘Interlude,'" Goldsmith said.  

"The dance is bigger than all of us," Wright said. "It will be cool to come back 50 years from now and tell a friend we started this."

The how-to video for "The Interlude Dance" can be found on YouTube and the UNI Athletics Facebook page.

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