Dance Team Leaves for Nationals with Their Eye on the Prize
By Olivia Wall
The Seton Varsity Highlighters have officially jetted off to Disney World to compete in the Universal Dance Association’s (UDA ) National Dance Team Championship. According to the UDA website, last year there were 330 high school and all-star dance teams that made the cut to compete. Those teams had the option of competing in any two of the following categories: Jazz, Hip Hop, Pom, and High Kick. As many of you know, the SHS highlighters placed 3rd in Pom and 14th in Jazz which is a very big deal.
This season the team had a long and rough road to their national competition. According to Senior dance member, Megan Kelly, over Christmas break the team had practiced more hours than any team that has come before them. Kelly said, “At that point, I was so proud of my team because we had worked really hard and we’re ready to compete at nationals.” Then the team was faced with several challenges. Team members were involved in car accidents, experienced fractured bones and illness. One dancer became so ill that she and had to go to the hospital. “She tried to dance through it, but it ended up getting worse,” said Kelly. Because of this, she has opted to not dance during Nationals, but will be there in Florida to support the team .. Because this decision was made just two weeks before the team was set to leave for Florida,changes had to be made to formations which resulted in changes to their entire routines. “In order to get our routine where it needed to be, we had to drop out of a competition, add in a seven and a half hour long practice as well as extend our two and a half hour practices to four hour practices,” explained Kelly“We were mentally and physically drained but we have been set on winning since the start of our season. We grew as a team and came out stronger then we could’ve ever imagined.”
The team has had consistent themes all season such as, “Eye on the prize” and “Anything can happen.” This season has been full of ups and downs but the girls have overcome every single obstacle and look and feel better than ever heading into competition time.
Despite the challenges the season has brought, the pre Nationals excitement is still present. Sophomore Abby Nutter will be performing in Disney for the first time this weekend. She says, “Going into nationals for the first time is such an overwhelming thing. All season long I’ve been nervous, but now that the competition is here I can honestly say I have full confidence going onto that floor. My team and I have worked so hard, and I can’t wait to experience this for the first time with my best friends.”
The Highlighters will be competing on Saturday and Sunday, February 1 and 2. You can follow them on twitter @shsdance for competition updates over the weekend. Good luck to our team!
Photo Credits: Seton Dance Team