College Dance Team Central

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Red Hotz Dance Team To Compete At Nationals

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Club sports teams at the University do not have the financial advantages of varsity teams, but as the Red Hotz competitive dance team leaves for the NDA National Championship, it will be especially shorthanded.

Of the 23 teams competing in its division in Daytona Beach, Fla., the Red Hotz is the only one without a coach.

The 12-member squad has a captain, Kate Nichols, a co-captain, Orian Edelman, and two lieutenants, but the lack of a coach poses logistical problems even in running a routine practice.

The team practiced for the final time before Nationals on Sunday night, with Nichols cuing up the CD, running to her spot in the formation, dancing and trying to critique the routine when it finished.

If it sounds impossible, that's because it is.

Without someone objective to judge its routine, the Red Hotz, more than any other squad at Nationals, must rely on teamwork and individual responsibility.

"I might lead it and get us going, but we all make corrections, we all help each other, and we all make the changes we need," Nichols said.

"It's a group thing, so I never feel like it's all on me."

Unlike most conventional sports, members of the team lack the benefit of getting to judge themselves against the competition on a weekly basis, so their focus has been internal as they try to improve their fourth-place finish in 2007.

"We're definitely ready to go," Nichols said. "It's a very different dance this year, which is a good challenge. We have a lot of variety in this routine."

As the Red Hotz prepare to compete against the likes of Southern Methodist, Western Michigan, West Virginia and 20 others, the hostilities of traditional rivalries will not be present in Daytona.

"There's a mutual respect among all the teams," Edelman said. "It's not a bitter competition. We're all proud of each other."

The Red Hotz will compete in the Open Division I championship, and its preliminary routine will be at 11:14 a.m. Thursday.

Live scoring and a video Webcast are available through If the Red Hotz team finishes in the top 13 in Thursday's competition, it advances to the finals, which will be held Friday and televised on a tape delay on Fox Sports Net.

The theme for the Red Hotz's 2008 routine is "work," but the Daytona weekend will bring some long-awaited relaxation, win or lose.

"It's a nice treat for a hard year of work," Edelman said.