As a team of twenty Sonoma State Sapphires pour their hearts into a new routine, the new potential members behind them begin memorizing the choreography they are being taught. The night before try-outs, team captain Erica Pecho leads the audition rehearsals for the last time.
As a senior, Pecho has danced for the Sapphires for the past three years and knows how to conduct a room full of dancers with both leadership and enthusiasm. Pecho is a business management major from Walnut Creek who hopes to one day possibly own her own dance studio, though there is much time for that in the future, it seems bright as she holds a 3.7 GPA, is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and holds two jobs as a tasting room associate in Santa Rosa as well as a hostess in Petaluma.
She also obtained two scholarships through her sorority, both the SCAP scholarship as well as the Leadership Conference scholarship.
It is clear that dance is Pecho’s passion as she has been dancing for 16 out of her 21 years, and enjoys all styles of dance. What she is most looking forward to this year as a captain is “being a leader and a mentor for the younger ones; to see their potential and push them out of their comfort zone. Also, taking the team to a different aspect- I love to see this be apart of the school rather than just competition.”
This year’s dance team is going to be much larger than in the past, with six seniors being a part of the twenty members, and open auditions- it’s a new structure where certain dances will be choreographed for certain small groups.
The dynamic that comes with the new structure is exciting to Pecho, “The best thing about the Sapphires is displaying our passion for dance to the community as well as the school,” said Pecho.
Her passion is clearly translated to her team, her coach and her co-captain, as they describe her as “inspirational” and “dedicated.” Her co-captain and a sophomore Hutchins major Jen Novero comments on Pecho’s position to the team. “She’s awesome. She always answers my questions even late at night. I never have to do anything by myself,” said Novero.
“We’re all going to have to step up and lead the team like she did. We all have to inspire each other.”
Their coach, Megan Bowcott, a Sapphire alumna and SSU graduate, wants only the best for her senior captain. “She stepped up so much. If we didn’t have her, our team would fall apart. She’s responsible, she’s a good friend and a good leader, she is strong and there is a good balance of friend and authority. I want all of her hard work to pay off. Her work ethic is insane,” said Bowcott.
Juggling being captain, her sorority, her two jobs and class, is all taken care of by what Pecho gives credit to, “my planner, little sleep, and coffee.”
Pecho’s last year is inevitably in front of her, and when asked about her last year, she took a moment to herself and replied: “I realize how important this is to me. I want to give it my all. I want to push the team. I want to dance my heart out, really.”