Sugar Bears Accomplishments & FAQ

The Sugar Bears annually have proven to be among the top-ranked programs in the country, competing on the Nationals stage since the 1980s. In 2021, the Sugar Bears were inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and in 2022, were named one of the 25 Best College Dance Teams in America by Online Bachelor Degrees.

Travel Opportunities

The Sugar Bears have the opportunity to travel to UDA Nationals in Orlando, to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments, some away football games, and some post season basketball tournament games. 

Sugar Bears Dance Team - Frequently Asked Questions:

How many dancers are selected for the MSU Sugar Bears Dance Team?

Sixteen dancers are selected for the MSU Sugar Bears Dance Team each year.

What are the academic requirements to be a Sugar Bear?

To tryout for the Missouri State Sugar Bears, you must either be a student at Missouri State University, or have an acceptance letter from Missouri State University to attend classes for Fall 2023. You must have a minimum G.P.A. of 2.0. Members of the Sugar Bears Dance Team must be full time students at Missouri State University, and maintain a 2.0 G.P.A. to remain eligible.

How often do the Sugar Bears practice?

The Sugar Bears have some summer practice and camp requirements. They average four 2.5-hour practices each week during football and basketball seasons, with additional practices for Nationals. Practice schedule may vary semester to semester, and all practices are mandatory. 

Can I tryout for Sugar Bears without attending the tryouts (for example: by sending in a video)?

Tryout participants are required to attend the tryout and at least one tryout clinic. If you have a conflict with the audition dates, please contact Head Sugar Bears Coach, Emily Dryden, at to discuss your conflict situation.

What expenses do Sugar Bears have?

Although the expenses will vary from year to year, the University has taken care of many expenses in the past, such as practice attire, uniforms, poms, and most Nationals expenses. For the 2023-2024 season, rookie Sugar Bears will need to purchase specific tan & black jazz shoes, Sugar Bears rain jacket, and briefs. All Sugar Bears will pay for nationals warm-ups and nationals choreography fees. Those items are all specific and will be purchased through the squad. Additional expenses may also include nationals costumes and airfare to nationals. 

What skills are required for tryouts?

Attending one of the mandatory tryout clinics will help you to become familiar with the style of dance, method of teaching, and types of skills that will be required for tryouts. Skills likely to be seen throughout clinics and auditions are: quadruple pirouettes, pirouettes in various leg positions (e.g. coupé, attitude, etc.), challenging à la seconde turn combinations, a variety of leaps and sautés (e.g., tilt, calypso, center leap, firebird, etc.), consecutive toe touches, leg grab turns,  headsprings, kip ups, and more. Tumbling is not required but encouraged. We will go over various leaps, turns, and other skills that could be included in the tryout material. Pom and hip hop choreography will be taught at the tryout clinics, and will be evaluated at auditions. We will also be available to answer questions at the end of each clinic. 

In addition to games, performances, and practices, what other time requirements are involved with Sugar Bears?

The Sugar Bears appear and perform at several events each season. These events can include but are not limited to the MarooNation Ball in Springfield, Kansas City & St Louis, sports pep rallies, homecoming events, and the MSHSAA State Dance Team Championships. Team practice and Sugar Bears Calendar photo shoot is usually held during the summer... date TBD. Sugar Bears are required report to campus to attend practices before Fall Semester begins, as well as practicing and cheering at games scheduled during Thanksgiving, Fall, Winter, and Spring Breaks. They participate in producing and selling Sugar Bears calendars, hosting a high school dance team competition, visiting kids at Mercy Kids Hospital, and participating in events for charitable organizations and community service. Additional practices and performances may also be required.