Arts & Culture

UK Alumna Dances Her Way From Big Blue to Cowboys Nation

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photo of Kristany Setser dancing with Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blues by
headshot photo of Kristany Setser
photo of Kristany Setser dancing with Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blues team behind her by
photo of Kristany Setser dancing at Titans Stadium
photo of UK Dance Team at UDA Nationals

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2018) A University of Kentucky alumna has danced her way from Big Blue Nation’s Rupp Arena to AT&T Stadium in Cowboys Nation. Former UK Dance Team member and arts administration alumna Kristany Setser is a current member of the Dallas Cowboys' Rhythm and Blue hip-hop dance team. Setser will perform next in the Cowboys' annual Thanksgiving Day game 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Prestonsburg, Kentucky, native graduated in 2016 with a degree in arts administration and a minor in dance. A four-year member of the UK Dance Team, Setser grew up a Wildcat fan attending football games at Commonwealth Stadium.

After graduation, Setser relocated to New York City after being selected for the city's Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester, a prestigious training program with some of the dance industry's leading choreographers and teachers. She had the opportunity to perform in their professional showcase at Alvin Ailey Dance Center and subsequently spent a winter season dancing with RWS Entertainment Group at Cedar Fair Theme Parks.

This summer Setser took her dancing shoes to Texas to audition for another type of national stage. The Dallas Cowboys introduced the Rhythm and Blue, a high-energy co-ed hip-hop dance team and drumline, in 2009. The group brings an exciting and innovative element to the Cowboys' storied game-day lineup.

Rhythm and Blue entertains fans prior to home games in the plazas at the stadium and makes public appearance throughout the year at charity events, halftimes and the Cowboys Christmas Spectacular. The dance group is the first and only entertainment concept of its kind currently operating within the National Football League.

"Rhythm and Blue stands out from other teams in the NFL and is a direct reflection of the trends in the dance industry by having both men and women," Setser said.

The dancer's favorite part of being a team member of Rhythm and Blue is that "we are each so different from one another and are celebrated for our uniqueness. From height to hair color to ethnicity and dance background, there aren't two dancers that are the same."

Setser attributes her preparedness performing for such a large and well-known organization to her time cheering on the Wildcats with her UKDT teammates. "Being on the team taught me to work hard, persevere and above all else to appreciate the opportunity you have been given. Those lessons have been evident in my professional dance career and in my everyday life. I owe a lot of my professional success to the UK Dance Team, my coaches, teammates and the opportunities the university allow us to be a part of."

One of her greatest joys at UK was being a part of the UKDT and getting to represent the UK spirit program at games, in the community, at competitions and now as an alumna. Her accomplishments as a UKDT member include the 2016 University of Kentucky Dancer of the Year Award, 2016 University of Kentucky Coaches Award, and four-time Universal Dance Association (UDA) Division 1A Hip Hop Top 8 Finisher from 2013-2016.

Setser also credits her time studying for a dance minor as an influence on her dancing now. “The courses in the dance minor opened my eyes up to different concepts in choreography and performance that now play a role in my creative process for how I teach, the style of movement I choreograph and how to establish an overall energy in class.” 

And, Setser says her arts administration degree was highly beneficial too — opening the door to exciting new opportunities beyond the field and studio. She attributes her curriculum and internship experience in her College of Fine Arts major with opening her eyes and heart toward how impactful the arts can be to local communities through the economy, overall well-being, society and education of its residents.

"My time spent in class and in internships through the arts administration program made it possible to assist in the planning of a successful touring performance and educational outreach program for the Kentucky Ballet Theatre and will allow me to be able to create opportunities for pre-professional dancers in the near future."

While she may be in the Lone Star State now, Setser’s goals for the future are centered on her Kentucky roots. She would like to return to the Bluegrass to utilize what she's learned as a performer and her education in the development and outreach facets of arts administration. Her dream: to use those skills to develop events that will create opportunities for dancers who dream of pursuing professional dance careers.

Until her homecoming, Kentucky fans can cheer her on this Thursday and every Cowboys game day in Dallas.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue