They’ve Got the Beat – UNO Dance Team takes fifth at national competition

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Written by Chelsea Collins

After months of blood, sweat and tears mixed with hard work and dedication, senior Meagen Pruitt stood hand in hand with her 19 teammates, waiting anxiously for what the UNO dance team had been striving for since August; a place in the top five for dance team nationals. “My first reaction was that we did it. We had met the goal we had been working toward all year, and it was a great feeling to finally achieve it,” Pruitt said.
The journey to the top five in the nation started last April. Tryouts were held and when the team was assembled, conditioning and practices began in early May. These were held so the team wouldn’t lose their spark or energy in the summer months. After a summer of intense training and practices, the team headed down to Northwest Missouri State for three days of learning combinations, perfecting them and ultimately performing their final team dance on the last day. Those last performances are scored to win a bid for nationals, which the UNO dance achieved by winning the silver bid this past year. “This was a huge step up from the previous year, considering we were given the bronze bid in 2012,” Pruitt said.
This bid helps pay for some of the various expenses when it comes to traveling to nationals. Some other ways the UNO dance team fundraised for the trip to nationals was by holding a dance competition in November for all the surrounding high schools. The money earned from this specific event was to not only pay for fees for nationals but also for the team’s choreographer to travel to Nebraska from the East Coast to teach the team their nationals routine.
Practices throughout the year varied with the amount of games they had to perform at and just increased when nationals became closer. During the fall semester, the team had practices Sundays and Tuesdays and then added a Friday practice during the spring semester. Also during spring semester, the team would do different sections of their nationals routine during basketball games and other various events to get some performances under their belt. The coaches also put together a five hour practice the month before nationals that had multiple guest coaches, such as local dance team coaches, teams and former coaches/teammates to come critique their dance and to give some advice.
Nationals were located in Daytona, Fla. and when the team arrived, the practices didn’t stop there. The team arrived a day early to get in a couple two-a-days before the big day. The team placed so well in prelims that they got to go straight to finals.
The team met their ultimate goal and was given fifth place in the nation after finals. “In my opinion, this routine was the hardest one we’ve had in the last four years I’ve been on the team, but we knew it would be a great routine to take us to the top,” Pruitt said.  “All year, our goal was to get top five at nationals, and we were absolutely thrilled when we met that goal.”

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