Heart condition does not deter determined stepper

Posted on Dec 6 2013 - 4:14pm by Guest Writer

Brittanya Love joins Lute Nation despite health problems

By Samantha Lund, Guest Writer

First-year Brittanya Love is one of the newest members of Lute Nation, Pacific Lutheran’s step team. Love’s journey to becoming a stepper was not easy, but she and Lute Nation both expressed excitement that she made it.

While in high school, doctors told Love she had a small heart murmur. The stepper said she was not surprised, because her mother has the same hereditary heart condition.

First-year Brittanya Love practices with PLU’s step team Lute Nation Tuesday evening in the Columbia Center. A minor heart murmur prevented Love from being able to practice with the team at the start of the school year. Photo by Emily Jacka

First-year Brittanya Love practices with PLU’s step team Lute Nation Tuesday evening in the
Columbia Center. A minor heart murmur prevented Love from being able to practice with the team
at the start of the school year. Photo by Emily Jacka

The murmur did not affect her life until she got to PLU and decided to join the step team. The murmur caused her health clearance process to take much longer than most, and while it was pending, she could not practice with the team.

Love surprised her team when she attended every practice and performance even though she could not dance. Love said she would watch the team practice, then take the steps home and practice on her own.

When the f i r s t – t i m e stepper was cleared to practice, she had already learned most of the moves. That dedication caused Lute Nation to r e c o g n i z e Love as their “Stepper of the Week” Nov. 15.

“I love being part of it. It’s just so wonderful,” Love said. “When I didn’t have clearance and was at practice, I was really upset.”

The first performance Love was ready for was PLU’s Global Getdown. She said she was nervous but excited to get to perform and put her hard work to use. Love said she had never danced much before, and it was rarely in front of people.

“When I came to PLU, I wanted to get into something out of my comfort zone,” Love said. “It was like ‘yup, I got this.’ It was definitely something out of my comfort zone.”

Now that Love is a part of the team, she said she does not plan on taking it easy. She practices an hour before each team practice to get her steps down before the team gets together. Love said she catches herself doing her steps in class quietly and not very discreetly.

As a member of Lute Nation, Love said she wants to show younger kids that college can be an option for everyone. Love said she would like to inspire some future steppers, too. The sense of family is something that Love said she wants to take out of her team and share with the community.

“I notice as I progress,” Love said, “it’s more of a ‘we,’ like a family more than a friendship.” That family bond, Love said, is one of her favorite things about being a part of Lute Nation.

The team has become a part of Love’s everyday life, and she said she has become a better person because of it. “We talk about how to improve not only as a team, but as individuals,” Love said.

Though Lute Nation was something Love did to take herself out of her comfort zone, Love said she feels very comfortable there now, and it is a large part of her life.