College Dance Team Central

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Kansas Rock Chalk Dancers UDA Article

Hard work pays off for nationally-revered dance team
From The University Daily Kansan
By Eric Jorgensen

Monday, January 23, 2006

Only one University of Kansas team has finished in the top five nationally in the past three seasons — the Rock Chalk Dancers.

The dance team finished third in the College National Championships on Jan. 15 in Orlando.

The Rock Chalk Dancers continued a trend that started two years ago, when they finished second. They placed fifth last year.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the team’s three-year run is that only 25 squads are allowed to compete at the national championships. The tournament field was selected through audition tapes sent in by each team.

The third-place finish in the most competitive division has solidified the team’s place as a national dance powerhouse.

“The team has really come together,” coach Tasha Ruble said.

Ruble said the team received more national recognition and performed at a near-perfect caliber. Some dancers agreed with Ruble and acknowledged that they have become revered as a national power.

“It gave me a great deal of pride to place in the top five for the third year in a row,” Christina Gekas, Eden Prairie, Minn., junior, said. “The program has built a lot these last three years. Before three years ago no one knew about us; now, we have national respect.”

The dancers also finished 11th in the Hip Hop competition.

Their ability to make the national championships year in and year out has taken its toll, according to team members. Long hours of endless dancing, cardiovascular training and repetition of their routines are in the job description for the dancers.

Taking each of those ingredients to the next level is how the team said they continually succeeded on the national stage.

Andrea Hill, Omaha, Neb., sophomore, said the consistency of the team’s placing at nationals has not surprised her. She said the team worked on routines all summer and fall. Before the national championship, the team practiced seven hours a day for two weeks.

“Our dedication and loyalty to the team helps,” Hill said. “We worked our butts off for nationals. We came back a week earlier than last year to practice. We practice as much if not more than other teams.”

Kelly Cure, Bloomington, Minn. sophomore, said that bruising, sweat-induced practices was the only way to stay ahead of the competition.

“Nationals practice is really intense. You feel like you can’t move afterward. It’s a marathon, it’s a battle,” Cure said.

Hill said she thought the team was as close to perfect as possible in Orlando.

“We performed amazing,” Hill said. “We did the best we possibly could with our routine. It’s a great feeling to know that all your hard work paid off.”

— Edited by Janiece Gatson


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