National competition proves dance is a sport


Megan Schoen

Lancers Dancers and XCalibur recently traveled to compete in the Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Florida. Lancer Dancers ranked fourth in jazz and fifth in hip-hop while XCalibur ranked second in jazz and fourth in pom.

Megan Schoen, Features Editor

Halfway into hour seven of a nine-hour practice, the Lancer Dancers are dripping sweat. With the motivation of competing against the best teams in the country, they dig down deep to finish the seemingly never-ending practice in hopes that it will all pay off at the Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Florida.

“Nationals is a competition in Orlando, Florida where hundreds of teams from around the nation come to compete,” senior captain of Lancer Dancers Tiffany Smith said. “We had more than 100 hours of practice spanning from the beginning of November to the end of January with a lot of choreographers and alumni coming into to make sure our dances were the best they could be.”

When one sees the Carlsbad High dance teams perform on stage, it seems arbitrary to label what they are doing “a sport,” for it looks impossibly graceful and effortless. When one goes behind the scenes and witnesses how much work actually goes into making the seemingly easy routines, it is clear dance is just as much a sport as any ball-and-goal variety.

“I don’t think people understand the athleticism that goes into dancing,” Smith said. “You do a lot of tricks and flips and turns, and you really have to make sure you are strong enough to handle that and keep up performance. It’s a mix of being an athlete and an artist and that’s what separates dance from any other sport.”

When you throw in the competition aspect, measuring up not only against teams around the county or state, but the entire country, the argument becomes more clear. These dancers have two minutes on stage to show everything they have and impress a panel of impartial judges.

“It’s so much fun and really, really intense,” senior and member of Xcalibur Catherine Lee said. “So many new teams came that haven’t come in the past, and they were incredible. The competition is really the best of the best.”

With a mere two practices before it danced on the stage, Xcalibur was forced to change almost its entire dance, “blocking out” the places where senior Catherine Lee was after she broke her foot during practice. Despite the added challenge, the team rose to the occasion, working hard to make sure it was ready for the competition.

“I think as a team we were concerned for Catherine and a little shaken up about reblocking everything,” junior and member of Xcalibur Kyra Badiner said. “In the end though, we pulled it together and did the best we could. I was proud of everyone.”

The Lancer Dancers returned home with a 4th place ranking in the varsity Jazz division and a 5th place ranking in Hip-Hop. Xcalibur, competing in the Junior Varsity division, scored a 2nd place trophy in Jazz and 4th place in Pom. Both teams represented Carlsbad strongly, bringing home not only trophies and medals but also memories that will last a lifetime.

“I felt like I left my heart on the Nationals floor and did everything I could,” Smith said. “I was so proud of our performance and our sportsmanship; we really kept our heads high and congratulated everyone. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”