Rosewood’s Mackenzie Haswell

Rosewood’s Mackenzie Haswell signs her letter of intent to continue her dancing career at East Carolina University.

Her entire life, Mackenzie Haswell has been dancing like no one is watching, and on Monday afternoon, Haswell achieved her dream of dancing in college.

The Rosewood High School senior signed her letter of intent on to join the dance team at East Carolina University next fall.

“I’m in awe still about making the team,” Haswell said. “It’s exciting that the school gave the opportunity to have this day.”

Haswell said he chose ECU due to dance program and academics. Haswell, who plans on majoring in biology and one day attend dental school to become an orthodontist, knew she wanted to be a Pirate after trying out for the dance team.

“I always wanted to go to ECU because it’s closer to home, and I was really struck by the dance team,” Haswell said. “When I went to tryouts and met some the girls, it was very exciting. It was also nerve-wracking, but everyone was super nice, and the coach was easy to communicate with.

“It was nice.”

The East Carolina Dance Team started in 1984 as the Pure Gold Dance Team.

The team’s focus was to provide entertainment at sporting events, and in 2005 the Dance Team merged with the ECU Marching Pirates to become the ECU Dance Team.

As a member of the dance team, Haswell will be a part of the university’s sporting events.

The dance team performs at every men’s and women’s basketball game and participates with the Marching Pirates, ECU’s marching band, at all home football games.

Haswell, who has been dancing since she was 2 years old, said she’s drawn to dancing because dancing gives her a way to express herself without using words.

“I always considered dance an outlet, because there’s different variations, genres and styles of dance, so no matter what I’m feeling or what stress I want to take off, I feel like dance has always been my escape,” Haswell said. “I just really enjoy it. It’s always been my go to.”

While Haswell will miss performing in high school, she said she is excited to move on in her dance career.