A Look Back on Nationals

July 12, 2009

So, it’s a few months into freshman year and it’s crunch time. The 2007-2008 Sacred Heart University Dance Team Competition roster goes up tonight and I’m shaking in my jazz boots. Out of a team of 34 girls, less than 20 are chosen, in no specific class order or ranking. No one is superior over the other; we’re all just as vulnerable as the next. If I were to be granted this opportunity, that would mean I would be dancing in Daytona Beach, FL, up against the best of the best in collegiate dance. If I were to be granted this opportunity, that would mean my dream would finally be coming true.

Awaiting the arrival of the handwritten roster while my coach delivers her speech is an indescribable moment. Aside from the hot flashes and silent panic attacks, I’m extremely excited. This could be the moment that changes my college career as well as my life forever. When the list goes up, number seven my lucky number, spells out my name. As my coach and upperclassmen describe the experience and process, I’m on cloud nine. Never would I have thought that this moment would be happening so soon; never did I think succeeding would feel this good; and never did I love dance as much as I did in this very moment.

After months of intense practicing and conditioning, no vacations or sick days, Nationals is upon us. No matter how many times I perfected my routine, nothing could prepare me for this. The Bandshell, or Finals stage, stands strong on its beautiful beachfront property. Making it to Finals is what we’ve all been waiting for. Dancing in the purest of summer heat in front of thousands of people is what we’ve been fighting for, what we’ve worked for. Nothing can stop us now.

After making it straight to Finals after preliminaries, our nerves were off the charts. It was the first time in S.H.U. Dance Team history that a team advanced straight into Finals and now the pressure was on. Standing backstage in the Bandshell was extremely intimidating. Hearing the constant roar of the beach and crowd had my friend almost tossing her cookies. I don’t remember much after hearing the announcer call out, “from Fairfield, Connecticut, Sacred Heart University,” the excitement and heat put me in a temporary adrenaline coma.

After what felt like an eternity, our score was called and we were deemed the title of fourth in the nation of Division 1 collegiate dance teams. Ridding my eyes of tears and sweat, I fall into the embrace of my team— my family, my life.

Now that I have completed half of my college career, I like to look back on where it all started. Though accepting the offer of competition team meant giving up a lot such as a spring break, an extensive social life and sleep, I believe that it was the best thing I have done for myself. I made amazing friends and was able to find myself through dance and discipline. My advice? If you ever get the chance to competitively dance in college, do it! One thing you will be asked your whole life is what university you went to. You want to be able to say that you took advantage of every opportunity that you were given, so go for it! And dance your heart out.


To see S.H.U. and other collegiate dance teams compete in N.D.A.’s Daytona Beach Nationals, visit Varsity Wired.