Alumni, Campus wide

Young Alumni Series: Joaline Diez ’19

By Mackenzie Montana | March 3, 2020
Joaline Diez with the CSU Dance Team
Joaline Diez (pictured bottom left) with the CSU Dance Team before a basketball game. Provided by CSU Athletics

How often have you felt that God was pulling you a certain direction yet you had no clue where that path would lead? That is exactly how Joaline Diez felt her freshman year at Charleston Southern University. 

Diez has been dancing since she could walk, and when she discovered upon arrival at CSU that a dance team didn’t exist, she felt lost. Was God telling her to take a break from the thing she loved most in life? Diez prayed about what to do for days and that turned into weeks and months before she decided God was calling her to create the team herself. She had no idea where to start but submitted to God’s will and decided to create the team as a ministry. 

CSU Dance Team does a routine in the Buc Dome. Photo by CSU Athletics

God’s path for you is not always straightforward and easy. When she began to ask questions on how, when and where to start, Diez found that this journey would be much more difficult then imagined. It took over 10 people before she found Anna McSwain (then director of athletic marketing) who helped Diez jumpstart her project and became her new advisor. The dance team and praise dance team both had to start off as clubs before gaining the momentum needed to become official teams for the university.  

Charleston Southern dance team and Joaline Diez
Joaline Diez (front left) leads the CSU Dance Team in a routine. Photo by CSU Athletics

They hold tryouts in the fall of each year, and all students are welcome to try out. Diez’s biggest piece of advice for someone looking to start a club or team at CSU is “Ask for help! So many people at CSU love to help others and even if they can’t give you the answer you are searching for, they can point you in the direction you need to go. Pursue your goals no matter what, starting this was honestly the hardest part.”

After the dance team was founded and complied with the NCAA standards, they began to get uniforms and create routines. A common issue was that many people thought the dance team and the cheerleading squad were the same thing. “We ran into a few people with questions on the difference between the two teams. While the cheer team does an amazing job, we are very different. We (the dance team) do not cheer or chant anything. We are there to show our routines and skills.”

CSU Dance Team gathers before a football game last season. Photo by CSU Athletics

Diez graduated in December of 2019 and is loving postgrad life so far. She is currently taking classes at a dance institution in Columbia which upon completion, she will be a “certified master of dance.” Diez plans on combining this with her kinesiology degree to travel the world teaching dance and sharing the gospel. 

Diez has advice for those about to graduate: “Enjoy your time at Charleston Southern. Postgrad life is not all sparkles and sunshine; it’s putting in the hours and working hard to achieve what you want to in life. The skills I learned at CSU and during the creation of the dance team have taught me so much, and I can’t wait to apply these things to postgrad life.”

Mackenzie Montana is a student contributor for Marketing & Communication and is a senior majoring in marketing.

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