College Dance Team Central

Friday, January 19, 2007

Northern Iowa Dancers Finish Fifth

By Owen Siebring
Nothern Iowan

Last weekend, the University of Northern Iowa dance team and Panther mascot, TC, performed at the Universal Dance Association national competition in Orlando, Fla. This is a recount of their weekend.

Jan. 11:

5 p.m. – TC and the dancers arrive in Orlando and check into the All-Star Resort, where they will be staying for the weekend.

9:45 p.m. – After a short night gallivanting around town with some of the other mascots, TC hits the hay for his big adventure on Friday.

Jan. 12:

9:20 a.m. – After a quick warm up on the practice stage at Wide World of Sports, the members of the dance team choose to spend their day at the Magic Kingdom, where they had the privilege of being in a parade with the stars of the cinematic classic, “Toy Story.”

6 p.m. – After their visit to the happiest place on earth, the team sets off to see TC and the rest of the mascots perform at MGM studios.

9 p.m. – The final standings are announced, and TC places No. 10 overall in the nation. TC is upset that he couldn’t have finished higher, but he is pleased with having the experience of going to Orlando and competing with some of the greats, such as this year’s champion, “Sparty,” from Michigan State.

Jan. 13:

5:30 a.m.–The dance team begins its rigorous journey of makeup application, because the girls know that the judges will be looking for teams to have the same facial appearance.

9:23 a.m. – It’s crunch time for the dance team, and they dance their little hearts out. Sophomore Jessica Fuller explains the team’s approach: ‘Leave no doubt,’ a saying which she explained to mean, “leave no doubt in our minds and our hearts that we controlled that floor while we were out there. This will help us achieve the placing that we deserve.”

11:30 a.m. – The standings are announced, and 10 teams made it to the final round.

11:31 a.m. – Squeels of glee fill the air as the UNI dancers find out that they will be one of those teams performing in the final round on Sunday.

Jan. 14:

10 a.m. – The final competition for Division I dancers begins. UNI will be No. 8 out of 10 to perform, so they must wait anxiously and see what the other teams have to offer.

11 a.m. – The UNI dancers hit the stage. For the seniors, this will be their last chance to compete at the national level, so they know that this will be one of the biggest performances of their lives.

11:45 a.m. – Once again, the results are read, and once again, the dancers are on the edges of their seats ...

11:46 a.m. – UNI finally hears its name called at fifth place. Elation is the only word that can describe the feeling at that instant, as the UNI dancers have placed higher than any other dance team in the school’s history. When asked to describe the moment, senior Kim Gladson says, “It was absolutely amazing, and it’s still sinking in, but the second that they didn’t call our name No. 10, we knew we had finished higher than last year. Then they called four more teams before us, and that was ... it’s weird because it’s all just kind of a blur.” Gladson still has obvious trouble describing the feeling of knowing that, at their level, they are the fifth best team in the country.

Jan. 15:

9 p.m. – The dancers and TC are welcomed back to UNI - not with cheers of jubilation - but with near sub-zero weather, after enjoying temperatures nearing 80 degrees in Orlando. All of the dancers hope to enjoy the spoils of coming in fifth while they can, but they know that there is more work to do. As they prepare more routines for basketball games and get used to the fact that instead of being cheered on, they will be the ones doing the cheering until next January.


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