Story by Reporter Zoebelle Bean
On Friday, April 7th, the Aquinas Dance Team (AQDT) placed 2nd at National Dance Alliance (NDA) Nationals in Daytona, Florida. The team qualified for this competition in January and on Tuesday, April 4th, the team flew to Orlando to compete. The entire trip lasted six days, with the team flying out of the Gerald R. Ford Airport on Tuesday and reentering Grand Rapids on Easter Sunday.
On Thursday, the team competed against the other NAIA schools in their division and placed 2nd, qualifying for the final round on Friday, where they placed 2nd overall. Though the air was hot and humid, the dancers loved the change of weather and scenery, marveling at the tall palm trees and bright sun.
Throughout the competition, the team engaged in several team-bonding activities to explore Florida, including dinners out as a team, dips in the beach, and trips for ice cream. Saturday was a day reserved for leisure after the intense dancing the members engaged in during the past two days.
Bella, pictured below, noted how, “It was such an incredible experience… I loved watching other polished routines and teams from around the nation. I especially enjoyed bonding with my teammates at the ocean and watching some of the best cheerleaders in the U.S, including Navarro and TVCC.”
The competition was run similar to a studio competition, with a raised stage made of marley lined with large LED screens that displayed the names of the various schools and an enormous cloth backdrop decorated with the NDA logo. The pomp was more than welcoming for the circumstance and the AQDT basked in the glow of the neon lights.
Not only that, but the competition was also for cheerleaders, meaning that cheerleaders and dancers competed simultaneously in separate rooms. On the last day, the winners of the cheerleading competition competed outside by the beach on the “bandshell”, an enormous outdoor stage by the beach that resembles a castle, for the title of Grand Champion.
Florida was a cleansing way to end the season for the Aquinas Dance Team. The team brought back not only new tans but also a trophy nearly as large as the dancers.
The Aquinas Dance Team will be welcoming eight new members onto their roster for the 2023-24 season.