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The Lionettes Hire Their First-Ever Head Coach

If you’ve enjoyed at least one Penn State football game in your lifetime, you’ve probably witnessed the talented and graceful dancers that are the Lionettes. This team of dancers performs routines and kicklines on football Saturdays, as well as dance at basketball games, THON, and more. What could be more impressive than their in-sync dance routines?  The fact that they’ve put them together and performed without a coach or adviser.

The dancers took home first place at the National Dance Alliance College Nationals each year from 2012 to 2014. This past season, the Lionettes continued their successful streak and brought home a third-place trophy. Of course, the girls were striving for another gold trophy, but they continued to wow us with their fantastic dance numbers throughout the year.

Though the team has never technically had a head coach, supervisor Sue Sherburne deserves to be included in their recent success. Sherburne taught the women valuable skills regarding teamwork while managing the program’s administrative facets. Sherbune was the Lionettes supervisor as well as a great role model before leaving the program last year.

Though the girls have accomplished countless victories independently, they now have a head coach — Julie Berardi. Berardi, a former Lionette herself, is a 2008 Penn State graduate. On July 30, she officially accepted an offer to become the first Lionette head coach in team history.

With a passion for ballet, Berardi began dancing at the age of five. She trained at the Oxford Center of Dance and the Mid-Atlantic Ballet Company. This led her to continue on to the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Berardi then auditioned and was chosen to be a part of the international dance ensemble.

The 2014 Lionettes Dance Team. (Photo: Penn State Athletics)

The next summer, Berardi, along with other selected dancers, performed in towns across Europe. She danced in France and Germany, and her largest performance took place in Berlin. When Berardi began looking at universities to attend, she was strictly on the look-out for colleges with excellent dance programs. Because of the reputable history and success of the Lionettes, Penn State stood out to her.

“Penn State was always so appealing to me because of the size, the school spirit and the atmosphere,” Berardi told the Daily Collegian. “I was hooked to the idea of being a part of the team especially since I had only done ballet up until that time.”

“Julie embodies what it means to be a Lionette and the expectations that go along with it,” said current Lionette Katie Shearin. “She already understands the ins and outs of our program which will help this transition for our team to go smoothly.”

We have seen the Lionettes achieve great things in recent years, and hopefully we will witness even greater accomplishments in the future. With a head coach now supporting and helping these talented women, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for this team.

About the Author

Carolyn Popescu

Current senior studying Advertising and Visual Arts, Carolyn has a passion for entertainment and music. She also loves photography, film, graphic design, social media, and all things in between. She's the current Sony Music Marketing Representative for State College, so be sure to reach out to her with any local music scene questions, ideas, proposals, or if you just need someone to geek out about music with.

(Contact her through [email protected] or [email protected])


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