College Dance Team Central

Friday, May 01, 2009

UC Dancers On Top Of The World

By Lauren Bishop
Also: UC Dance Team Sweeps Dance Championship,

Best in the nation, and now best in the world.

That’s what the University of Cincinnati Dance Team can claim after winning gold medals in jazz dance, hip-hop and freestyle dance at the first-ever International Cheer Union’s World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando over the weekend, three months after the team won its fourth national hip-hop title in six years.

“They were unbelievable,” said Lisa Spears, who is in her 11th year as the team’s head coach. “They put on an outstanding performance.”

The International Cheer Union chose the UC dance team to represent the U.S. at the world cheerleading championships after the team took first place in hip-hop and fourth in dance in January at the Universal Dance Association – College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship at Walt Disney World.

The team held four-hour practices four to five times a week for two months to prepare for the world championships, lengthening and refining the hip-hop and dance routines they performed at nationals and learning a new freestyle routine, Spears said. The team’s varsity squad is made up of 17 students from all over the country, who have an overall grade point average of 3.4, she said.

Team members knew little about their international competition, which included teams from more than 40 countries competing in the dance and cheer events. The event was also part of a campaign to make competitive dance and cheer part of the Olympic Games.

In the end, the UC Dance Team’s greater experience compared with teams from countries that were new to competitive dance and cheering won out, said dance team captain Julie Dota, a 23-year-old senior math major from Youngstown. Still, they were stunned when they heard they swept all three categories.

“We really couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I would have never expected any of this to happen.”

The world championships ended the dance team’s season, but auditions for the 2009-2010 team take place May 30.


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