College Dance Team Central

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Providence Dance Team Ties for First in New England

By Allison O’Connor ’10/ News Staff
The Cowl

The Providence College Dance Team showed the judges what their dreams were made of at the Universal Dance Association New England Dance Championship at Westfield State College in Westfield, Mass., on April 11.

“This is a regional event for college and high schools throughout New England to come and compete in front of judges,” said Andrea Ricci ’10, coach of the Dance Team.

The team, made of up 18 girls, competed against eight other teams in the College Dance bracket and tied for first place with Marist College. Their first-place routine was choreographed to the song “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics.

“We had originally thought to do a mix of Lady Gaga songs, but we decided to do something different and use a song that a lot of other teams would not choose,” said Devan Lovegreen ’11.

This year marks the first year that the Dance Team has had an official coach. Typically, the captains have been in charge of choreographing and developing routines.

“[The College] was looking for a coach, and I ended up coming back to the school, so I jumped on board,” said Andrea Ricci.

Ricci, who is also assistant director of Alumni Affairs in the Office of Institutional Advancement, was on the Dance Team as an undergraduate student, and was captain of the team her senior year. She also currently works as a dance teacher and previously worked for the Universal Dance Association (UDA) for six years, during which she ran the New England Dance Championship competition.

The girls attribute much of this year’s success to the addition of Ricci as their coach.

“Andrea’s input and leadership really helped us improve and to place well in the competition this year,” said Bridget Landry ’10.
Jen Bencivenga ’11, explained that the team’s motivation can be attributed to Ricci.“We owe all our successes to her,” she said.

Their journey to number one has not been easy, and their success is due to the hard work and dedication that the girls put into the team.

“We spend a lot of time together, as our season runs from September through April, so we consider each other family,” said Bencivenga.

The team performs at all of the men’s basketball games at the Dunkin Donuts Center, some of the women’s basketball games, and at various events on campus.

“Throughout the year, the dancers have really improved,” said Ricci. “We set goals at the beginning of the year to compete regionally and win, and we did.”

The team only began developing their routine for the competition after basketball season ended.

“We practiced three times a week for two and a half hours at a time,” said Lovegreen. “The competition routine had a lot more technical aspects in it than our routines for basketball games, so it was definitely a challenge.”

The routine was two minutes long, making it longer than the routines the team typically performs at the games. Therefore, the girls were forced to build up their endurance for the performance.

“The hardest part about training is the few practices before the competition. Doing even just a two-minute routine over and over again for two hours, full-out and up to speed, is exhausting,” said Landry. “The pay-off is worth it though!”

Getting to the competition was also a challenge, literally.

“While traveling to Westfield College, one of the cars got a flat [tire],” said Bencivenga. “Four of the girls arrived at the competition minutes before we had to perform. They maintained composure and were able to execute the dance perfectly, as they always do!”

The “Sweet Dreams” routine included technical aspects and incorporated tricks done by the entire team.

“We showcased all of [the girls’] talents while trying to create something really visual, so if you were a generic spectator watching, then there would be lots to look at,” said Ricci.

The girls’ dedication and teamwork proved to be a great success.

“There’s a lot of talent in our region… It was incredible to end my four years on the team to come in first place,” said Landry.

To symbolize the girls’ success, they were awarded a trophy that will be on display in theshowcase in Peterson.

“We’ve had a really great year, and [winning] was a good way to end it,” said Ricci.

Aside from their success, the girls are most grateful for the bond they share as a team.

“My favorite part about being on the dance team are the girls that I dance with,” said Landry. “Performing at the Dunk wouldn’t be half as fun without their energy to feed off of, and I’m taking away so many friendships and memories from the dance team that I’ll never forget!”

Seniors Ashley Bryan, Amanda Camerota, Jessica Costa, Bridget Landry, and Meaghan McComiskey will graduate with the memory of their first-place win during their final year at PC.

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