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Dance team competes with nation’s best

By Ryan Hannable
On April 17, 2012

On Thursday, April 12, the Sacred Heart University dance team competed in the annual National Dance Association competition in Daytona Beach, Fla.

During the weekend-long competition, the team competed against 14 other Division I teams from across the country, ultimately earning a fifth place finish.

The team, made up of 20 girls, competed in the team performance category. This is a two minute and 15 second dance routine containing jazz, pop, and hip-hop sections.

On Thursday, the team competed in the preliminaries in the Peabody Auditorium. All 14 teams competed, with only the top eight moving on to the finals.

“The uncertainty and suspense after prelims was by far the most stressful part of the trip,” said senior captain Caroline Campo. “We put everything we had on the stage, and that was all we could control.”

Going into the finals, they were ranked fifth with their Billy Joel-themed routine containing a variety of his songs such as “Pressure” and “Keeping the Faith.”

The team’s finish was the product of a year long effort and preparation.

“I am so proud of how far this team has come and the dedication and hard work it took to get here,” said senior captain Breanna McLaughlin.

The finals were held on Friday morning on the Band Shell, an outdoor performance venue located right on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday’s site was much more exciting than the setting the day before.

“It was surreal,” said junior Monica Malcomson. “All I could think about was taking in every moment.

“The massive crowd, the ocean, and being on that stage with my teammates was a dream come true. Everything we worked for paid off with 2.5 minutes of pure passion and adrenaline,” said Malcomson.

Since the team first learned their routine in January, they have put in hours of practice time, cleaning up and perfecting the dance with a common goal of making it to the finals stage.

“It feels really good to finally show everyone else how much our hard work has helped us get to this point,” said junior Kelly King. “It’s an unreal feeling that I’m sure all 20 of us will never forget. Dancing on that stage will forever be a part of us.”

Four of the twenty girls had previously danced on the Band Shell as freshmen. Advancing this far again was even bigger and more meaningful for them.

“It feels amazing being in the top five again, and knowing that even though Sacred Heart is a small school, we have the talent and heart to compete with schools much bigger than ours,” said McLaughlin.

Other teams that competed against Sacred Heart included Towson University, Boston University and Albany University.

After the exciting win on Friday morning, the team switched gears and showcased their hip-hop routine later that day.

The team finished in eighth against 12 other Division I teams.

“It was absolutely the greatest feeling of my life,” said sophomore Katrina Rossi. “I had never been part of a team like this that worked so hard to reach one goal, and finally reaching it was an unbelievable feeling.”

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