College Dance Team Central

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

St. Thomas Dance Team Steps It Up With Top Honors And ‘Most Collegiate’

By: University of St. Thomas News Service

The UST Dance Team placed first overall and also won “Most Collegiate” honors in the Open Division at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) College Camp held Aug. 1-4 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The dancers also received a Superior Trophy for receiving the highest honors in their individual evaluations. The Open Division includes Division II and III schools.

The UDA camp is the largest collegiate cheer and dance camp in the United States, attended by approximately 1,400 student athletes, mascots, coaches and advisers from schools across the country and Puerto Rico.

Throughout the four days, teams compete in a competition with a routine prepared prior to attending camp and take classes where they learn new routines and technique for the upcoming season.

The “Most Collegiate” award encompassed representing the University of St. Thomas to the fullest with a positive work ethic, good sportsmanship, respect and attentiveness.

“Camp for us is the perfect way to begin our season. We only practice a few weeks prior to prepare for the competition so it is not only a nice way to ease back into dancing after the summer break but also a great way to bond as a team. Even though we came home with several awards, I think our greatest accomplishment was the connections we made as teammates and the positive way the girls represented themselves and the university,” Alysia Ulfers said.” As their coach, it makes me so proud to receive compliments about our team. They are not only known as talented dancers but also as respectful and mature young adults.”

The team is preparing for the football season, where it can be seen on the sidelines and at halftime. The team also will be working toward attending the 2010 National College Dance Team Championships next February in Orlando, Fla., where they hope to compete for the program’s third national title.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sam Houston State Dancers, Cheerleaders Named All-American

By Raegan Castillo, SHSU News Service
Huntsville Item

Sam Houston State University student Melissa Compian has been performing dance routines on stage since she was just a little girl.

Dancers that have years of experience, dedication and hard work like Compian make up the Sam Houston State University Orange Pride dance team.

“This year starts my eighth year of training and performing with a team,” Compian said. “Orange Pride has been wonderful! We are an extremely dedicated team made up dancers with different styles, each with a talent to contribute to our group as a whole.”

Compian, four other members of the dance team and two members of the co-ed cheerleading squad were awarded All-American statuses at the National Cheer Association/National Dance Association Cheerleading and Dance Collegiate Camp July 24-25 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The All-American Collegiate Dancers awarded from Orange Pride were Gloria Smith, Hillary Villman, Compian, Hannah Shields and Everest Guerra.

Awarded All-American Collegiate Cheerleaders were Nick Woodward and Holly Vonderau from the co-ed squad.

Both the dance team and the squad worked to improve their dance and cheerleading skills over the weekend at the NCA/NDA SMU College Camp with schools from across the region.

“The camp provides us with a chance to work around other teams and to show the collegiate dance world what we have to offer before nationals,” Compian said.

In order to receive an All-American award, the NCA/NDA judges nominate the dancers to perform a short choreography and the cheerleaders to successfully perform a set of six or seven skills that include tumbling, stunting and a jump.

“The camp staff watches everyone the entire weekend,” Shields said. “The last day when everyone has performed, they announce the All-American nominees. We then had to learn a short dance in 20 minutes and perform it while the whole camp watched us.

“At the final award ceremony they announced the All-Americans from all of the cheer and dance teams,” Shields said.

Last year, Orange Pride received a “half paid silver bid,” where they advanced to the NDA National Competition in Daytona Beach, Fla., and placed second. The team returned this year to receive a “gold full bid,” and will again compete in the NDA National Competition in 2010.

“This year was so much fun,” Villman said. “Although the camp is very intense and tiring, I got to share it with the girls that I love and achieve our ultimate goal of winning a full-paid bid to nationals.”

The co-ed cheerleading squad came back home with a bronze bid and new techniques.

“Being able to see all of the NCA staff showing us different techniques and stunts really helped out,” Woodard said. “I’ll be able to come back and apply it to our squad.”

NCA/NDA camps have served generations of cheerleaders and dancers around the world, according to the National Cheer Association. They teach leadership, strong support of school athletic teams, the pursuit of skills excellence and safety, and teamwork.

“Being able to go to this collegiate dance camp is a huge accomplishment in itself,” Shields said. “Not many can say they have taken their sport or hobby to this level.”

Orange Pride was also awarded the “Most Spirited Team,” the all-girls squad received third place in the All-Girl Cheer Off competition in their division and was awarded a bronze paid bid. The co-ed squad also received first place in the Co-Ed Cheer Off competition within their division.

“Being on Orange Pride has been an amazing experience. It’s allowed me to be more involved with SHSU, make a bunch of life long friends, and to compete in a collegiate national championship,” Villman said. “And being awarded All-American dancer, I was very surprised and very, very excited. I feel honored to be able to represent SHSU in this way.”

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Drexel Dancer Named NDA All-American

Philadelphia - The National Dance Alliance has honored Drexel Dance Team member Ashley Nuel as an All-American. Nuel, a junior majoring in fashion design, was recognized by the national organization after competing in an intensive three-day audition. The Drexel Cheerleading and Dance Teams were also honored with Bronze Bids to compete in the NCA/NDA College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla. this coming April.

The National Dance Alliance, one of the preeminent national dance team organizations, has sponsored camps and national interscholastic competitions since 1976. Teams from across the country compete for a place in the national championship in April.

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ISU Dance Team Washing Cars To Connect With Community

By Wes Horrocks

POCATELLO - The Idaho State University Bengal Dancers are raising money by cleaning cars.

The group held a fundraiser car wash at Potelco Credit Union Saturday.

They planned the event as a way to interact with the community.

The money they raise will be used to help them go to national competitions. Brittney Udy, a Bengal Dancer said, "The past couple of years we've been doing really well at nationals, and to keep doing that is going to bring more people to our school which I think will make our community better."

The Bengal Dancers have won two National Championships, and have been ranked in the top three since 2004.

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HPU Cheer And Dance Teams Win Paid Bids At Camp

Teams will Attend National Competition in 2010
Honolulu Advertiser

The reigning national champion Cheer and Dance Teams at Hawai'i Pacific University recently attended the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) and National Dance Alliance (NDA) College Camp at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. At camp, the HPU Dance Team, and Large Coed, Small Coed, and All-Girl Cheer Teams, competed against other schools winning full-paid bids for all four teams to attend the National Competition in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2010.

Other honors earned at the NCA/NDA College Camp included Sharky the Sea Warrior being selected as "Most Collegiate," and 24 HPU cheerleaders were honored as "All-American." Three of HPU's dancers were also chosen as "All-American," and the HPU All-Girl Cheer Team was honored as "Most Collegiate." The HPU Large Coed Cheer Team was named "Best All-Around Team" at camp, and all the cheer teams swept the Rally Routine Competition.

The HPU All-Girl stunt group including Savanna Sibley, Lauren Loeb, Emily Myers and Hilary Dartford won the "Top Gun Group Stunt" competition, and HPU Coed Partners Neessa Cappolla and Steven Johnson won the "Top Gun Partner Stunt" competition.

The HPU Large Co-ed Cheer Team has won seven straight national titles (2003-2009). The HPU Small Co-Ed Cheer Team has won four consecutive national titles (2005-2008). The HPU All-Girl Cheer Team won its first national title at the 2009 competition, and the HPU Dance Team has won four consecutive championships, totaling five titles overall (2004, 2006-2009).

Hawai'i Pacific University is the state's largest private university with more than 8,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education, and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

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Minnesota Dance Team Hosts 3rd Annual Alumni Event

The 2009-2010 Dance Team hosted a potluck for the alumni at the Williams Arena club room. We began the night by greeting the alumni and looking through old scrapbooks and national's photos. We could not deny the overwhelming presence of the TCF Bank Stadium through the floor to ceiling windows. You could feel the excitement from the alumni for us and yet a hint of envy that they wish they too could perform at the new stadium this fall.

After dinner, we watched videos from previous teams dating back to 1960 along with national's performances with rare moments without commentary. My favorite part of the evening was a question and answer session with the alumni. Their sincere passion for the team couldn't help but excite the new team. We were surrounded by a group of remarkable women that truly inspired me to strive for success in the coming years on both dance team and in life. They stressed the importance of setting goals and making plans of how to achieve those goals. I tried to soak up all the helpful advice that they all shared.

After the potluck came to a close, the current team wrote our mission statement for the upcoming year. Our evening with the alumni motivated us in writing our mission statement. We value the legacy that our alumni have created for us, and we want to carry on that legacy and live up to the standards they have set. Thank you to all the alumni who came on Friday, we are so thankful to have you as such an active part of our current program. We hope to see much more of you!

-Sarah Bucka, 1st year member

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

All Dancing And No Play: Feature On Johnson County CC Dancer Brittany

Tonganoxie Mirror

Some people dance for fun — to cut loose, escape and enjoy themselves.

For Brittany Watson, dancing is serious business. The 2008 Tonganoxie High graduate has been moving to music since the age of 3 and has done so all over the map — from right here in Kansas, to Florida and even Paris, France.

As she works toward earning an associate’s degree at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Watson has taken her dance career to another level on the school’s dance team, the Golden Girls.

The squad’s name occasionally conjures up thoughts of the 1980s sitcom with the same title about four older, single women.

“Isn’t that a TV show from a long time ago?” some have asked Watson.

Having never seen the hijinks of the series, though, Watson only knows the hectic schedule of being a JCCC Golden Girl as she enters her second year on the team.

Even in the summer, the dancers practice twice a week. And practice involves much more than going over steps. Team members stretch, run a mile, do some abdominal work, practice technique and work on specific routines. During the school year, those practices last three hours and come three times a week.

It’s a physically demanding activity and it can take a toll.

“We do it all year long,” the former Chieftain Stars dancer said. “We never really get a break.”

Managing schoolwork with dance, work and other activities requires discipline. Watson said she gets sore and often feels tired. And commuting to the campus from her Tonganoxie home everyday adds to that busy schedule.

“It’s kind of hard to stay motivated but this is our job,” Watson said.

Some of the job requirements for Golden Girls include performing at basketball games, pep rallies and other JCCC functions. But their main focus throughout the year is the national competition held each spring.

The dance team works exhaustively on a routine in preparation for the NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship, critiquing it and cleaning it in hopes of wowing the judges with a perfect performance.

“It’s really stressful,” Watson said. “You eat, sleep, breathe nationals the whole year until you get there.”

This past April, the Golden Girls traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the competition. They just missed out on making the showcase stage, which is televised nationally.

“It wasn’t as good as we wanted to do but it’s really intimidating,” Watson said of the event, which involves nearly 5,000 dancers and cheerleaders each year.

With that in mind, she and her teammates already are working toward next year’s nationals, even though the event is about nine months away. This week, they are attending a camp on the Kansas University campus in Lawrence. They will have three days to learn and perfect a dance, and their performance at the camp’s conclusion is critical. The team is given a ranking and if it is high enough, the dancers can earn a trip to next year’s nationals.

That trip is important to each dancer but Watson will have an even more vested interest after becoming the team’s co-captain this summer. She will be working with captain Chrissy Birkholz of Paola to make sure the Golden Girls are on top of their game and improve throughout the year.

JCCC dance coach Erin Fine said, as co-captain, Watson will work with Birkholz and the coach on a daily basis.

“Her main duty as co-captain,” Fine said, “will be to take charge of the team motivation throughout the year, inside and outside of practice activities.”

For Watson, who said she may one day open her own dance studio, all the work and responsibilities are worth it. Besides, it isn’t like she doesn’t have some fun.

“I enjoy doing it a lot,” Watson said. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be dancing.”

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Seton Hall Dance Team Earns Honors At UCA/UDA Camp

SCRANTON, Pa. - The Seton Hall cheerleading and dance team enjoyed a successful trip to the UCA/UDA Camp 2009 at the University of Scranton, with both teams earning awards for their performances.

The cheerleading team brought home four trophies, including first place Camp Champion in the Fight Song Competition. The Pirates took third place in the Sideline Cheer Competition, while also earning the Most Improved Squad Award and a Superior Squad Award.

The dance team also earned the Most Improved Squad Award to go along with a Superior trophy in the Fight Song Competition.

Seton Hall competed against fellow BIG EAST members Georgetown, Rutgers, Syracuse and Villanova at the camp, in addition to numerous other schools.

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Islander Dancers Have Strong Camp, Chosen For UDA Nationals

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islander Dance Team attended UDA College Dance Camp at Texas State University this past weekend not only claiming several awards but qualified for a spot at the UDA College Cheer and Dance Nationals in Orlando, Fla.

The national competition will be held at the Walt Disney World Resort on Jan. 15-18. The completion is aired on the ESPN family of networks. The Islanders won several other awards including first place in fight song, superior performance trophy, and over 36 individual awards to become one of the top teams at camp.

"The team worked amazingly hard all summer to prepare for camp and walked away with several awards," said coach Melanie Lowry. "The girls are looking forward to a great year and would like to compete at nationals if the funds can be raised."

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UCA Honeybears Take Top Honors

The UCA Honeybears Dance Team recently returned from attending collegiate camp at Missouri State University. The team of eleven beat defending champ MSU to bring home first place honors.

"It's such an exciting thing to win first place," said team captain Jennifer Gattin of Bryant. "UCA's dance team is finally being noticed. We've worked hard for several years to make this happen."

In addition to winning the home routine award, UCA also was recognized with the Most Improved Program award and a superior evaluation in fight song.

Watch for the Honeybears on the sidelines and at halftime when UCA kicks off its football season in a few weeks. The Honeybears are hosting a dance clinic for junior high and high school dance teams on Saturday, September 26. Younger girls can get in on the action at the Little Girls Clinic on Saturday, November 7. E-mail coach Susan O'Keefe at for more information.