Plymouth teen takes twirling to Purdue University
Alicia Dennie first laid eyes on twirling when she was 7-years old.
“I actually got into baton twirling after going to my very first Purdue football game. I saw the feature twirlers and the twirling team twirling and I thought that that was definitely something that I wanted to do. So, right after that I told my mom that I wanted to be a twirler at Purdue,” Dennie said.
Her family had no experience in the sport, but her parents found her a twirling group immediately in her hometown of Plymouth. Dennie twirled for Daphne’s Dolls as she grew up, where she performed in parades, local competitions and eventually state and national events.
Dennie said, “A lot of times those dreams that little girls have, it’s really hard and difficult for them to come true because they are so out of reach. But when I started competing, my mom and I, we realized wow my dream really could come true and it’s a goal now. So, once it became that goal, and I’ve worked hard for it, it became pretty real and that I could do well.”
She has won just about every state competition and placed 2nd at Nationals in her type of twirling. Dennie specializes in the USTA twirling, which is more of a dance/gymnastics mix with her baton routine.
She said, “I’m definitely known as like the baton girl around town. And everyone’s been really supportive about my baton twirling. It’s different, but I think it’s a good different that I’m not doing all regular sports.”
Plymouth High School Athletic Department allowed Dennie to twirl at every home football and basketball game during half-time and the fight song. She credits them to helping her with her career. For the last ten years, she has worked for her college audition, which took place this past February. Dennie received the in-person call back, but that was only the first step. She had to audition in West Lafayette and participate in an extensive interview process before the selection was made. Purdue University has only four feature twirler spots: the ‘Golden Girl’, the ‘Silver Twins’, and the ‘Girl in Black’. And Purdue is just one of about fifty colleges that have feature twirlers. Each of Purdue’s twirlers receive a scholarship as part of their dedication to the athletic program.
Dennie’s life-long dream came true when she received a phone call later that day, notifying her that she had been selected as one of the ‘Silver Twins’. Traditionally, the Silver Twins are look-a-likes who twirl in precise coordination with one another.
She said, “Yea, I cried! I was really excited, just that finally, my dream really did come true. That I could go to Purdue and be a twirler there.”
Dennie will perform at every home football game and most basketball games in Mackey Arena, and will even appear at various other events around campus. She will make her debut on September 2, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, when the Boilermakers play Louisville at their first game of the season.