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Montana dance instructor cheers on former students ahead of 'Brawl Of The Wild'

Great Falls dance instructor cheers on former students ahead of 'Brawl Of The Wild'
Posted at 11:43 AM, Nov 19, 2021

All eyes will be on the end zone on Saturday for the 120th annual Brawl Of The Wild game between the MSU Bobcats and the UM Grizzlies — but it’s not just the football players who will be showing off their athletic abilities.

Cortnee Doll, who owns Sole Dance Academy in Great Falls, will get to see the rivalry firsthand for the first time. She’s heading to Washington Grizzly Stadium to keep an eye on the sidelines and cheer on those who cheer on the team.

“I really just wanted to be there for them and show them my support because they’ve always given me 110% so I want to be there for them,” said Doll.

This weekend is a reunion of sorts for Sole Dance Academy teammates. Doll has former students on both the Cat and Griz spirit squads.

In a Zoom call with reporter Shannon Newth, Doll got to see some of those students and surprise them with the news that she will be at the game to watch them perform.

Cat-Griz dancers

“We want to thank Cortnee for everything she’s provided because she’s given us the backbone to our dance career and we wouldn’t be anywhere without her,” said Faith Edmister, co-captain of the Griz Spirit Squad and former Sole Dance Academy member.

Doll has watched the new UM and MSU dancers grow from middle schoolers to collegiate athletes.

“We all went to different high schools. Faith and Darian went to Great Falls High and Samm and I went to CMR. And while we all had our own school pride, we were all Sole dancers and we all supported each other no matter where we were and I feel like that has really carried us through college too,” explained Andi Newbrough, Griz Dance Team and former Sole Dance Academy member.

Cortnee Doll

They may don different colors on game day, but they’re bonded through a deeper connection of athletic ability and performance.

We do Griz walk, we walk through the tailgates and perform there, then we perform for the whole rest of the game and while maintaining our technicality in our moves in our dance we also have to make sure that we are that friendly face, that excited face that’s filled with so much energy throughout the entire game to make sure that we can lift all the student section up, life the players up and to just create a whole community of support,” explained Samm Olson, Griz Dance Team and former Sole Dance Academy member.

“Here at MSU I’m a recognized D1 athlete for the sport, so I was at lift at 6 a.m. this morning with my team in the weight room that football lifts in. We put in over 20 hours a week,” said Darian D’Antuono, MSU Spirit Squad Dance captain and former Sole Dance Academy member.

While the MSU Dance Team won’t be performing on the field Saturday, D’Antuono will be there for her first Brawl of the Wild in Missoula. She knows what her fellow dancers will be going through on game day.

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“I’ll always be there to support my Sole girls. Not a huge fan of the Griz, but huge fan of the Griz Spirit Squad,” D’Antuono said.

“You would think that with the rivalry that it would get a little dicey, but we know we’ll always have Darian’s support and she’ll be rooting for us from the sidelines,” said Edmister.

“It’s such a proud moment. I always say dance is so much more than dance. It really is a lifetime of knowledge and friendship,” Doll said.

D’Antuono will return to Great Falls in the spring to student teach at CMR. She will also teach alongside Doll at Sole Dance Academy.