Featured Athlete: Brianna Planter

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Brianna Planter

Brianna Planter, a junior dance major, taught herself how to dance at age 9. Now in college, she is the new choreographer of the Poms, Columbia’s dance team.

Planter said she first found her competitive groove when she joined her middle school’s poms team. Until then, her only experience being on a dance team was when she got her start in athletics as a figure skater at 3 years old. Planter first began choreographing for her high school poms team and continued into college, coaching for the Lakeview High School poms team last year.

The Chronicle spoke with Planter about her passion for poms, her favorite choreographed music videos and her role model, Beyoncé.

THE CHRONICLE: What do you like  best about the Poms team?

BRIANNA PLANTER: I love that it’s a group effort choreography-wise. I love choreographing groups of people. It’s fun that you have a lot of different bodies to do different things with. Some people could be doing one thing, and then another group could be doing another thing, and the whole goal is to make a unified look. I enjoy the finished product of us working together and making a bomb dance. It’s exciting to perform in a group.

What is it like performing a routine in front of an audience?

It’s great. You have butterflies in your stomach at first because [you want to] have everything together because [although] it is a team, you have to make sure you know what you’re doing. It’s exciting once you see that everybody really put their work in, and getting the crowd’s reaction gets you really pumped.

How did your prior ice skating experience help you in dance?

I was actually a competitive ice skater before, so I guess in a way that kind of prepared me for dance because there are a lot of similarities, it’s just [one is] on ice. I honestly attribute my great ability at turning to ice skating because [turning requires] a lot of pulling up in your core, which when you’re on ice you really have to do that, otherwise you’re going to fall. Doing it on a nice floor is a lot easier than on ice, so now I’m pretty good at turns because of that.

Do you still figure skate?

I do it for fun now, especially in the winter when Millennium Park gets the ice rink. I like to go there and just skate around a bit. It always surprises me that I still know some things because it’s tough, and if you stop, sometimes you just lose it all.

Who inspires you the most to dance?

My biggest inspirations are a little unlikely because none of them are [known just as dancers], but they are Beyoncé, Aaliyah and Ciara. They’re all really great dancers, but they’re all really known for their singing. Honestly, music videos are really what got me into dancing. I didn’t see a lot of dance shows as a kid, so I saw music videos because that was a little bit more accessible, and that’s what made me want to dance.

Which music videos left a lasting impression on you?

Any time I see the “Try Again” music video by Aaliyah, it just leaves me inspired. I remember when I was younger, I learned the whole dance and I would show my mom, but she’d say to worry about ice skating. After a while, she realized I was actually pretty good at dancing.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to go on tour with musicians. I really want to be a backup dancer or choreograph music videos to bring more dancing back into some videos. [I would love] to go on tour with Beyoncé, so fingers crossed!