Dance team performs in showcase before national competition in January

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The dance team performed two routines for friends and family ahead of nationals. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Tempkin ’24)

The Lafayette dance team performed at its first-ever Nationals Send Off this past Saturday in Kirby Gym. The event promoted the team’s first-ever journey to the Universal Dance Association (UDA) College Nationals in January. 

Due to an injury, the cheer team could not perform at the showcase as was originally planned. However, it still came to support the dance team, sitting in the front row and cheering them on. Senior dance team captain Steph Davidson said that they appreciated the support from the cheer team and others.

“It felt really great. This is something that we’ve never done before, so just having that support and having cheer watching us and having friends and family there definitely meant a lot more than I can put into words,” Davidson said. “But above all else we could not have done it without our coach, Melissa [Diehl]. She is the reason we are here today and we could not have done this without her. We are so grateful to have her guiding us in our new journey to Nationals.”

The dance team performed a pom routine and a hip-hop routine. In between these performances, the Lafayette pep band performed six songs.

“We were so happy to help make the showcase more fun. This was our last scheduled performance of the semester, so we were happy to play with dance team for it,” sophomore conductor Sam Semsel wrote in an email. “I loved dance team’s performance. It was fun to see them dance a couple of their dances for nationals.”

Davidson said they have been preparing for the performances for the national competition since early September. The team has been working on building up endurance. Davidson explained that for their halftime performances at games, they will typically run a number once or twice in a row to make sure they nailed the choreography. These performances, however, have to be approached differently.

“Each dance is broken down into three sections, so we’ll do each section with a 30-second break in between. Then we’ll do section one into section two with a thirty-second break, two into three, and then we’ll do the whole thing full out,” she said. By repeating the dances, members of the team get their bodies used to the intensity level of this particular dance.

The team has tailored their practices to what they will be judged on at nationals, making sure they don’t let their faces “drop” and practicing their facial expressions in the mirror. The team also makes sure it is “yelling” inspirational words after every eight counts to keep the energy up as they dance.

“Screaming actually helps you breathe better, so we’re only able to get through the dance if we scream at each other,” Davidson said.

As the team prepares for nationals, it finds itself in a transition period between dancing for football and for basketball.

“It’s a different change of pace because it’s a lot quicker than football, but we’re excited to do timeouts and halftimes and support our men’s and women’s basketball teams,” Davidson said.

The team will return to camps in early January to practice before heading to nationals in Orlando, Fla.