College Dance Team Central

Friday, January 12, 2007

UDA College Nationals Preview - Open Division

With the UDA College Nationals upon us, College Dance Team Central previews the upcoming weekend with predictions from Dave Sanchez from the Dance Team Competitions Yahoo! Group. As moderator of one of the longest running sites devoted to all levels of dance competition, Dave takes a look at the Open Division Dance and Hip-Hop squads below.

Please visit the Dance Team Competitions Yahoo! Group Here


Again, this pretty much looks like a two-team race for the National Championship although Lindenwood might argue that they are going to have something to say about it after their 2nd place finish in taping. Lots of great teams looking to step up if either or both of the Top Two slip up (although neither of them will). There are twelve returning finalists, five returning semifinalists and one other former finalist. Seven teams are making Open Dance division debuts (or they haven't been here since 2000).

1. Orange Coast College: This is tough but I think Orange Coast will return to the top spot in 2007. They have tremendous talent and last year they were a little shaky in finals and that cost them the title. In prior years it didn't really matter so much if they were shaky because their talent level still carried the day – but St. Thomas has clearly taken way that margin of error for OCC. This is by no means a shoo-in – OCC has the tendency to take too many chances in choreography and while they earn points with some jaw-dropping talent – they also lose points with occasionally lax execution. OCC can't afford to do the latter if they want to reclaim the Open Dance title.

2. St. Thomas (Pictured): Basically every one who has seen their routine this year has raved about it and I am sure they have picked up the pace from what was a fantastic show in 2006. I think St. Thomas is strong in a lot of the areas where Orange Coast is a little weak – namely execution – and, on paper and without seeing either routine, they probably have a little advantage in choreography as well – certainly on a "team" basis. I know they have continued to progress as dancers in leaps and bounds but I still don't think they can match up head to head with the OCC dancers. Still, they will probably execute better and if it is better enough – they will certainly repeat as Open Division champions.

3. Lindenwood: They were 3rd in prelims last year and 2nd in taping. They seem like a pretty solid bet to finally move up afte three straight years in 4th place.

4. St. Cloud St: They had been slowly dropping down the rankings before moving back up to 7th place last year. A good showing for them at Mall of America.

5. Minnesota-Moorhead: Even thought it is only one week before Nationals – those Mall of America results haven't been as sure-fire as I might expect. This team didn't do well in taping either so I am hoping last week's result wasn't a fluke.

6. North Dakota St: They have been rock solid right about 5th or 6th place for the last few years and the competition really hasn't changed.

7. Avila University: Before dropping to 8th place last year they were a consistent presence in the Top Five. I am a little worried that last year might have just been an off-year and that they will be right back in the Top Five.

8. St. Benedict: I would have liked to see them do better at Mall of America – they have been in the bottom half of the Top Ten for the last four years.

9. California Lutheran: Burst on to the scene last year in 13th place and I actually thought they were a little better than thought. They needed to dance with a little more confidence and hopefully last year's success will have given them that.

10. Wisconsin Eau-Claire: They have been in the Top Ten forever. I say they barely hold on to their Top Ten spot.

11. Central Missouri: Just like in Hip-Hop – I hope that taping score wasn't a total fluke.

12. College of New Jersey: Good taping score and a breakthrough finish in the Top Ten last year.

13. William Jewell College: They haven't been consistent but they have at least made the finals in three of the last five years.

14. Wagner College: I would have liked to have seen a better taping score. In 2006 they were 11th in taping and 12th at Nationals. This year they were 28th in taping and they don't have a great draw.

15. Columbus State: Last time they were here they made finals – I remember this team having a lot of fire.


16. Concordia College: I like that they compete a lot but they still haven't shown that they can be a finalist team.

17. Long Island-CW Post: One finalist showing (and barely at that) in the last six years. They have a lot of experience though.

18. Indiana Southeast: They got a decent draw and they scored well in taping.

19. Christopher Newport: Great taping score but not a good performance order draw for a new team.

20. Villa Julie: This routine was outscored by their own Hip-Hop routine just a few weeks ago – still I feel like they have a decent shot at finals.

21. West Chester: They have a year of UDA Nationals experience under their belts and almost a better taping score than the rest of the field.

22. Northern Michigan: You figure a team from Northern Michigan should have at least a decent shot at some talent.

23. Assumption College: The name Assumption has a lot of cache – maybe they can pick up a few points off that.

24. Georgia College: They have some recent experience at Nationals.

25. Northern Kentucky: They have been away for a while but they were 9th place in 2001 – the last time they made finals.

26. Endicott College: They have competed three of the last four years.

27. Robert Morris: They only did Hip-Hop last year but a little experience always helps. I am actually slightly worried about this team.

28. Scranton: Oh, it would be very funny if they won – or even finished in the Top Ten.


Twenty competing teams in the Hip-Hop divisions with eight returning finalists, five returning semi-finalists and one other team that was a finalist in 2005. Seven teams are making their Hip Hop division debut.

1. Orange Coast College: After two years of trying to get the right style, Orange Coast College hit it out of the park with a look that totally absolved them of their prior sins of being too jazzy in this division. As long as they reasonably close to last years style and far away from their 2005 style (Cabaret), they should repeat as Open Division Hip-Hop Champions. Don't' really see them falling out of the Top Three in any case unless they really misfire in choreography and music.

2. University of St. Thomas: I heard a lot of raves about St. Thomas in Dance from Mall of America but virtually nothing about their Hip-Hop. St. Thomas pulled it together in the last week last year to pull ahead of Gustavus Adolphus but I don't know if they have same focus in Hip-Hop like they do in the Dance division. I am a little tempted to drop them to 4th place but I am still upset with the Missouri teams from last year. You know, fool me once . . .

3. Lindenwood: I really liked Lindenwood's Hip-Hop last year and their strong finish in taping would seem to bode well for them this year.

4. Avila University: The 2005 Champions dropped all the way to 6th place last year and that was a surprise. I look for them to move back up the rankings in 2006.

5. St. Cloud State: St. Cloud State makes their Hip-Hop debut and I expect them to do quite well. They have an extremely solid program and have been scoring well this year.

6. Columbus State: Columbus State comes back after a year off in 2006 and they should make the finals again. This was a good Hip-Hop team with good energy and they beat a lot of teams in 2005 that still made the finals in 2006.

7. William Jewell: They have been consistent in Hip-Hop even if they have dropped off in the Dance division. Not a lot of teams below them with their history of success.

8. Central Missouri: Yet another Missouri team. I have to give them a Top Ten nod based on their high taping score although I will say that I have not heard great things about them. I hope they don't make me look like – I don't know – a mule – for picking them in the Top Ten.

9. Long Island-CW Post: They have been a solid presence in the Top Ten in Open Hip-Hop and I don't see any reason for them to stop now.

10. College of New Jersey: It came down to the College of New Jersey and Wisconsin Eau Claire for my final spot in the Top Ten. New Jersey scored higher in taping and it just seems like a team from New Jersey should be better in Hip-Hop than a team from Wisconsin. I apologize for my regional bias.


11. Wiconsin Eau Claire: They took 10th last year.

12. Villa Julie College: This would be my upset special team. At least they get good coverage on their college website: I think this team is in its third year and they have been competing on the Star Systems circuit – their Hip-Hop routine just outscored their Dance routine.

13. California Lutheran: They did well in Dance last year – I actually thought they were a little underscored – and this is a growing program.

14. Robert Morris: They have one year of UDA competition under their belts.

15. Georgia College: They have a fair amount of UDA Nationals experience.

16. Northern Kentucky: I keep expecting this team to do better – based on their geography.

17,West Chester: They got a little experience last year.

18.Endicott College: They haven't yet made the jump into finals in any division.

19. Missouri Valley College: I actually picked them 8th last year in Hip-Hop and then they really let me down. Plus they took 31st in taping.

20. Parkland College: They are from Illinois and they have a very young roster – which isn't such a bad thing. They are just new to the competition: Parkland Website


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    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 5:55 PM  

  • St Cloud State makes their debut? They took 4th last year.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 9:38 AM  

  • It still that?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:08 AM  

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