The Illinettes Dance Team started in the early 70’s as a sideline team. When Gary Smith became the new Marching Illini Band Director in 1976, the Illinettes became part of the infamous Marching Illini. Since that time, the Illinettes have been a staple in the Marching Illini, at football and basketball games, and at various events that support the spirit of the University of Illinois.

2000’s – High School seniors are allowed in 1998, for the first time, to audition for Illinettes Dance Team. The trend has begun for members to be on the team for 3 – 4 years, rather than the average 1 – 2 years. Illinettes are more involved in community events, special performances, and enjoy the 2005 Fighting Illini Basketball Team’s road to the Final Four.


2010’s – The boots are back! The Illinettes take a page from the early years of Illinettes and add the boots back to their outfit for the march over to Memorial Stadium and Pre-Game festivities. And, this new decade starts with more of an outreach among the current Illinettes and the Alumnettes.

1970’s – Illinettes are formed and become part of the Marching Illini dancing with the band at pre-game & half-time, and on the sidelines to promote school spirit.


1980’s – The Illinettes continue to build a strong tradition of dance while they represent the University of Illinois and Marching Illini at various Bowl Games, community events, and school events. The use of the big poms and white go-go boots are a crowd favorite.


1990’s – The Illinettes compete (in the early 90’s) in the UDA College Dance Team Nationals, placing 2nd two years in a row. The giant poms are replaced with the show-poms, the boots eventually give way to a more athletic look, and the sequined outfits are replaced at half-time with more dance-related attire. The Illinettes are thrilled to participate in several Bowl Games with the Marching Illini to support our winning football teams.