Mad Ants dancer also serves in Air National Guard

Kaley Gasvoda will start a six-month deployment in 2018

IPFW student Kaley Gasvoda is in her first year as a member of the Madame Ants Dance Team. She's also serving in the Indiana Air National Guard. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

After the Madame Ants Dancers had sorted through two August tryouts, the survivors were asked to tell the group something interesting about themselves. New member Kaley Gasvoda won everyone’s attention immediately.

“I knew they were all going to find out eventually anyway,” Gasvoda said, “so I just said, `I’m in the Air Force.’ ”

Her declaration surprised everyone but also made perfect sense.

“There was a little bit of shock and then appreciation,” Madame Ants Dance Team coach Sheenah Johnson said. “Everybody instantly wanted to know what she does and if she could work us out because her body was amazing. We also thanked her and recognized her for her service.”

Johnson said this is the first time in the nine-year history of the Madame Ants Dancers they’ve had a military member as part of the crew, which is appropriate considering tonight’s second home game of the season is Military Appreciation Night when the Mad Ants face Raptors 905 at 7 p.m.

Gasvoda, 20 and a 2015 Homestead High School graduate, started dancing at age 4, and last year was part of the IPFW dance team before some friends convinced her to try out for the Madame Ants. She definitely needs the stress relief of dancing because besides being a full-time IPFW student majoring in business management and accounting, she also works third-trick at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base as a security specialist.

“I really enjoyed dancing and I missed it,” she said. “This is my hobby pretty much. I was like, `Oh, I’ll make time.’ It’s stressful, but I try to balance it all.”

She probably needs more sleep but dancing is fun and trips to the gym keeps her going. After work, she goes home to sleep for a few hours before attending class and then practice. Homework fits in at various times.

“A lot of my sergeants say I’m a girl by day and a guy by night because they think it’s so odd that I dance for the Mad Ants and then I go to work every day in my uniform carrying my M4 and my M9 working on base,” Gasvoda said. “It’s a different combo going from one uniform to the next. It’s also a little bit different in my unit because there’s only three females in my unit and I’m the only one on my shift. It’s more male-dominant and here’s it’s obviously all female. It’s a little different with the sense of humor. I need more females in my life because I’m always surrounded by guys at work every day.”

Gasvoda obviously has tremendous balance with her dance and professional skills. She’s efficient, dedicated and hard-working. She has worked hard to catch up on all the dance routines while maintaining her 3.7 grade point average.

“We learned a lot of dances, and you have to pick up stuff quick with the routines we have,” she said. “We have already learned 12 dances so it’s a lot to remember when you are running on no sleep, but it’s still a stress reliever and I’m making friends out of it so I really enjoy it.”

Gasvoda realized she was going to need financial help to attend college and decided early in her senior year to enlist. Her grandfather had been an Army colonel, and her father had enlisted in the Army. Ironically, her dance teammates have stuck her with the nickname “Army.”

Sometime in 2018, Gasvoda will also ship out for a six-month deployment at an undisclosed location. She was an alternate to be deployed to Kuwait two years ago, but this time she’s ready to test everything she’s been training for.

“I’m very patriotic,” she said. “It’s going to stink not being able to dance next year, but I’m very excited to be able to serve our country. We’ll see what happens and maybe I’ll be able to come back to this in the future.”


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