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Published on January 28, 2020

Eastern’s Dance Team Earns National Rank at Acclaimed Competition

The competitive dance team at Eastern Connecticut State University performed at the prestigious Universal Dance Association (UDA) College Nationals on Jan. 17-19 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The team qualified for finals at the UDA for the first time in Eastern’s history, where they finished eighth place in the Open Hip-Hop Division.

The Eastern Dance Team began competing at UDA in 2014, but this was their first time making it to the finals where they went against 30 NCAA universities and 300 college cheer and dance teams. More than 40 hours of preparation for the competition included choreography, costumes and music choices.

Assistant Director of Admissions Taylor Hammond '13, the team's advisor and former member of the WNBA Connecticut Sun Dance Team, shared what the preparation was like for the competition. “We practiced 12 days straight for one chance to hit a two-minute routine perfectly on stage,” said Hammond. “When the judges announced that we qualified for finals, it felt surreal. The team finally is getting the recognition they deserve for their hard work – it is very gratifying.”

The level of intensity and emotion was at an all-time high after the team heard the great news. Team captains Alyssa Ryan ’20 and Danica Seney ’21 told of their leadership roles in giving their team members reassurance and comfort. “As captains of the team we try to remind the girls of why they are here in the first place,” they said. “We are all here because we have a passion for dancing and that is what this is all about.”

Although this is their first time earning a spot in UDA’s nationally ranked competition, Eastern’s Dance Team has ranked high in other competitions. They were ranked fourth in the Battle of the Northeast Dance Competition and have placed in the top three dance teams in New England in previous competitions.

“The team puts their blood, sweat and tears into this team, so it’s amazing when it pays off,” said the captains. “ Hopefully with this win, we can grow the dance program and continue to move up in the national rankings year after year!”

Members of the dance team act as ambassadors for the university by providing school spirit and entertainment to the student body, faculty and staff through dance performances on campus as well as at local and national competitions.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Categories: Student Activities