The Gold Line team has its 2nd male dancer in TXWes history

Do not let society define you, define yourself. Be the best version of yourself.

— Lionel Muñoz

The Gold Line Dancers are the university’s competitive dance team. The group, who performs at athletic and school events, is usually made up of women since it started in 2017. However, the 2022-2023 season features the second male member in TxWes history.  

Lionel Muñoz is a junior psychology major who transferred from Tarrant County College (TCC). The journey he took to join the dance team had many twists and turns. 

Muñoz was a member of his school’s marching band all the way up until the collegiate level, yet he had the desire to be involved in the dancing scene. 

“In high school, I always wanted to be on the drill team, but the coach was very prejudiced [and was] against it,” said Muñoz. “I never got the opportunity and quite frankly it was something that bugged me for a few years.” 

Lionel Muñoz seeks to pave the way for future male dancers. Photographer Jose "Little Joe" Valdez
Lionel Muñoz seeks to pave the way for future male dancers. Photographer Jose “Little Joe” Valdez

After high school, Muñoz attended TCC, where he experienced his first encouragement to dance. He joined the college’s Mosaic Dance Project and there he met Angeles Alvarado. 

Alvarado, a Wesleyan alumna who was previously on the Gold Line team, introduced Muñoz to Wesleyan.  

Muñoz jumped at the opportunity to dance at Wesleyan. “What are the odds that a university close to home has a dance team that is co-ed squad?” he said. This opportunity seemed out of reach at one point for Muñoz, though he never lost confidence in his dream. 

“In high school, the coach was against male dancers on the drill team. Even to this day, I don’t know what the reason was behind it,” said Muñoz. “I did not let that stop me. As much as I hate to say it, I have to thank her for how she treated me because I proved her wrong.” 

Being the only male on the dance team, Muñoz has a unique position and is held to a different standard. 

“I work hard to be where I’m at. I am the only guy on the dance team so, quite naturally, all eyes are going to be on me at some point.” Muñoz’s hard work continues even though he is now on the team. “It is nerve-wracking. For me, I feel I have to put in twice the work. I feel like I have to put that extra umph in it,” he said. 

Lionel Muñoz is excited to be a member of the Gold Line dance team.
Lionel Muñoz is excited to be a member of the Gold Line dance team.

As the second male to be on the team in its entire history, Muñoz thanked his predecessor, TJ Curry, the first male to ever be on the Gold Line dance team. 

“Hopefully, he sees this and reads this article one day. I have to give him credit. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. It is up to me to carry on that legacy.”

Muñoz hopes to pave the way for future male dancers and wants to create a safe space for them to pursue their passions. “I want to show dancers that they can come here and feel safe and comfortable. That they at least have an opportunity to do something that they love,” he said. 

“Be who you are,” Muñoz says to the next generation of male dancers. “Do what you feel like you need to do and just be proud of yourself. We only have one life to live, and tomorrow is never promised.”