During a Central College Dance Team practice, the air is filled with shouts and cheers.
“5-6-7-8! From the top! Lock those arms! Spot your turns!” Coach Lexi Hanna works with the team, spurring members to greater performances. The hard work has paid off—recently the team competed at the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship for the first time in Central’s history.
Held April 9 – 13 in Daytona Beach, Florida, the competition tests some of the best college dancers in the country. Central’s 10-member team competed in the Team Performance category, which consisted of a combination of 30 seconds of jazz, 30 seconds of hip-hop and 30 seconds of pom including a turn sequence. Central’s Team Performance theme was “Miley” featuring Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” “We Can’t Stop” and “Party in the USA.”
“It’s a very energetic and up-beat routine,” says Hanna. “While performing, the girls cheer each other on and have certain vocal cues on certain motions to keep the enthusiasm up.”
The team won the right to compete in the national championship by qualifying during the NDA (National Dance Alliance) Dance Camp in August. Central’s dance team practices all year, and the members’ dedication showed during the event. The team received 3rd place in the Challenge Cup and 12th overall. Not only was the team successful in the competition, but the members also enjoyed themselves –making the experience even more meaningful.
“My favorite memory from the trip was competing in the challenge cup. We all knew it would possibly be the last time we would do that routine, and we gave it everything,” says team captain Darcy Baker ‘16. “The energy we all had out on the dance floor was something everyone could feel, and I could not be more proud of my girls for all the hard work they put in this year.”
This may have been the first year that the Central Dance Team qualified for nationals, but coach Hanna and the team are certain that it will not be the last. Their hard work and their time at nationals have strengthened both the program and the team’s chemistry.
“This is not just a one-time deal. We already have double the amount of confirmed incoming freshmen that will be auditioning. We are making this a competitive team,” says Hanna. “I’m so proud of those girls and proud to be their coach.”
“The Central dance team has become a totally different team. The growth we have had this year says a lot about our dedication to the program,” says Baker. “All of this could not have been possible without the help and support of coach Lexi.”