Dance Team finishes second at national competition


Teams from across the country competed in the Universal Dance Association Nationals.

Dance Team finishes second at national competition

The University of St. Thomas Dance Team finished second overall in the Open Dance category at the Universal Dance Association finals on Jan. 13-14 in Orlando, Fla. The runner-up finish is a proud achievement for a club that is building a strong tradition of success.

"Winning [the 2006 UDA National Championship] last year was something new for all of us," said UST Coach Alysia Anderson, "and it added an element of pressure for this year. We were striving to maintain a high level of performance; we wanted other teams to be impressed with us even if we didn't win ... we had a lot of compliments from other teams and coaches."

UST also finished in a second-place tie (in a field of 20 teams) in the Open Hip Hop category.

The UDA Nationals bring together dance teams from all over the country. College dance teams compete in one of three divisions, based on the schools' NCAA classification. St. Thomas was competing against 27 other teams in the open division. Teams enter the competition pre-ranked from a videotaped routine submitted to the national office in early November. 

The captains of the 2006-07 squad are seniors Rachel Brenk and Stacey Koesters and junior Kali Pendzimas.

Other team members include: senior Julie Hatlestad; juniors Allison Scholz, Alyssa Lefebvre, Jenn Leone and Natalie Norenberg; sophomores Leigh Threlkeld, Lisa Orth, Pam Sylvestre, Sarah Akin and Cara Swenson; and first-year students Jackie Kling, Sarah White, Malorie Booth and Jess Larson.

The team's jazz choreographers are Karl Mundt and Rachel Brenk, and the Hip Hop choreographer is Cheryl O'Bryan.

The 2007 competition will be aired on ESPN and ESPN2 starting in March (check listings for exact dates and times). In addition to filming the competition, ESPN camera crews created an opening segment for the event that prominently features the UST Dance Team. Footage of the team and interviews with team members were shot at a summer camp at UW-Milwaukee.

The Dance Team performs at all home football games, several men's and women's basketball games and at various campus and local events.

More information about the team can be found on the Campus and Residence Life Web page. For details of the 2007 competition, check out the Web site.