Dance team powers up at nationals


Madalyn Dishman and Lauren Clair

We sat watching all of the other awards before it was finally our category, it didn’t matter what place we got though, we had already passed two other cut throat rounds and guaranteed our spot in the top 20. Finally, it was our turn… they started naming the places and when they announced Utica as tenth place we couldn’t believe it. We all jumped up in excitement as we realized we had made history.

For the first time in about ten years, the dance team qualified for Universal Dance Association (UDA)’s National Dance Team Championship (NDTC).

“It’s a huge step for us,” dance captain Kailey Johnston said. “We just want to give ourselves a name in the world of dancing, and nationals is the best way to do it.”

The team flew out together to Florida on Feb. 1 and returned on Feb. 5. Along with competing at NDTC, the team got to enjoy some team bonding moments at the Disney parks.

“Going to the parks with the whole team was a lot of fun,” junior Madalyn Dishman said. “After the competition was over we went to a party for all of the competing dancers at Hollywood Studios.”

The nine-girl team started practices in May in order to prepare for their season and this nationally recognized competition. The team continued practicing up until the last moment with “parking lot practices” being held at their hotel’s parking lot.

“It was [intimidating],” junior Addison Guitar said, “especially because the bigger teams were so much louder than us.”

The dance team earned the tenth spot in the nation in the small varsity pom category where they were the only small varsity team from Michigan to advance to this category.

They exceeded their goal of making it to semi-finals by advancing all the way to finals.

“Not only do we have a bigger name within our school,” junior Colleen Roberts said, “but we have a bigger name in the dance community.”

With this newfound reputation, the girls are already preparing to take on next year’s season where the plan to compete at nationals again.

“We were really happy and thankful that our hard work paid off,” junior Julia Meguid said. “We can’t wait to get started for next year.”