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WVU Dance Team Wins First National Title in Over A Decade

Written by: Samantha Higley | WVUGo Staff Writer

team lineup Photos by: @WVUDANCE

The Mountaineers placed first in two divisions at the virtual championships, and did it in style!

The WVU Dance Team took home the championship title at the 2021 NDA D1A Virtual National Championships last week, winning their first title in over a decade! Despite CDC restrictions, an all-virtual competition, and choreography that has been put on hold for over a year, these dancers were able to pour their hearts into their performance and come out on top.

The team consists of 28 dancers, each with years of dance experience under their belt. With 16 veterans and 12 rookies, this well-balanced team was more than capable of pulling off a win. The choreography for the dances performed at Nationals was crafted during the Fall 2019 semester. With the sudden occurrence of lockdown in Spring 2020 and further restrictions to be put into place from that point on, the dances were put on hold. It wasn’t until March 1st of this year that the team was allowed to meet in person, and even then the looming threat of the pandemic made its way onto the dance floor. The two dances, on top of needing to be taught to rookies and re-learned by veterans, could now only consist of ten socially distanced dancers. These restrictions prevented the team from performing as they typically would, forcing them to make many adjustments in a short amount of time. But despite these challenges, the girls were more committed than ever. Practicing for 2-3 hours on multiple days a week, the team worked hard to make their dances competition ready. Fourth-year veteran Gillian Wanosky spoke highly of the team’s efforts, saying “each dancer gave 100% commitment at practices to make up for lost time, and our coaching staff put in countless hours outside of practice so that we could be productive when fixing the dance.”

A competition held virtually meant a significant change in the typical competition routine. Instead of a large venue packed with dancers, and a stage showcasing all scopes of talent, the competition was reduced to video submissions. The dance team performed two numbers; a jazz piece to Beyonce’s “Listen”, and a medley of classic rock hits. The new format wasn’t without its positives, however. Video submissions allowed for multiple takes which meant that the best possible video was submitted to the judges. The dance team set aside two days at the Creative Arts Center to perfect their video submissions. The first round of submissions was sent for the preliminary round, and the team received feedback from the judges. In a pre-pandemic world, this feedback would have to be incorporated into the dance in one evening, in preparation for a final performance the next morning. The virtual nature of the competition meant that the team had a week to make any adjustments based on the judge’s critiques. Following their submissions, the team met to watch the other submissions in their division, and hear the award announcements.

The resilience and dedication of the WVU Dance Team are truly admired by Campus Rec Club Sports and all of Mountaineer Nation. Their commitment to their craft in the face of adversity exemplifies the dedication to their artistry. Congratulations to the team on their championship victory and an exceptional season!

About the Author

Samantha Higley is a sophomore who began writing for WVUGoin August 2019 with an emphasis on Club and Intramural Sports. She plans to earn a degree in Neuropsychology with a minor in History. Samantha is also on the Club Volleyball team at WVU.