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February 24, 2015 | Leave a Comment
BUIES CREEK -- Lorianne Tant, a junior at Campbell University, had never been to a competition the size of the CHEERSPORT National Cheerleading & Dance Championship held Feb. 13-15 in Atlanta, Georgia. There were more than 1,000 teams from universities, colleges, high schools, and all-star programs from around the U.S. competing across dozens of divisions.
“To see so many dancers in one place was kind of overwhelming at first,” said Tant, one of the 15 students who make up the all-female Campbell Dance Team.
It didn’t matter. The Campbell Dance Team competed in two divisions -- Open Pom and Open Jazz -- and placed second in both. It was the first national competition the Campbell Dance Team has competed in since the team was founded in 2009.
“To represent Campbell in one of the largest competitions in the world was a wonderful experience,” said Brittni Adams, president of the dance team and a senior marketing major and management minor. “Overall, I believe the team did very well at nationals. Obviously, everyone wants first place, but I believe if the girls keep working they could go back next year and take home first place.”
A student-led club part of Campus Recreation, the dance team has no coach. So as the president of the club the past two years, Adams has managed the team, including overseeing tryouts and usually doing the choreography with the help of the team. They perform at all home football and basketball games.
“Everything you see comes from the collaboration of each team member,” said Tant, co-vice president of the dance team who’ll serve as co-president next year with Lisa Sacaccio. “I hope those who watch our performances really see and appreciate how hard we worked this past year as well as get a taste of our Campbell pride.”
The team competed in a regional competition last year in Charlotte and finished first in the Open Pom division. With that regional title came a bid to compete at the CHEERSPORT 2015 nationals held last weekend. After assembling this year’s team and seeing them perform together, Adams thought they’d have a shot at finishing well at nationals, she said. So they accepted the bid, entered the national competition, and raised nearly all of the $3,944 they needed to cover the entry fee and trip to Atlanta.
At the competition, they danced to Jennifer Lopez and Pittbull’s “Live It Up” for the Open Pom division, which Adams said is more of a cheerleading-style routine that interweaves sharp motions, leaps and movements. Their routine for the Open Jazz category was an upbeat relaxed sassy dance involving more leg movement and group turns performed to a Fergie hit.
“As a team, it seems like every curve or bump in the road you could think of came our way this year, but we still managed to make it to a national competition,” Tant said. “At the competition, I have never seen so much expression come through this team before. You could really tell we were all having so much fun and loved every minute of it.”
The team had been practicing for nationals since tryouts in August. After the Christmas break, they upped their practices to three evenings a week: every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday for two hours at a time. Before basketball games, they would also practice turns and leaps in the practice gym in the Pope Convocation Center. They did a full run through both routines in the practice gym before leaving for the competition.
“All we want to do is represent the campus community the best way that we can,” Adams said. “We are not just working hard for ourselves and for Campbell, but we are working hard for the students at Campbell to make them proud of us."
The campus community will have the chance to see the team perform outside of games at an annual end-of-the-year showcase in April on a date to be determined. The showcase will provide the team an opportunity to show off skills not normally seen during the games, and it’ll feature nearly all forms of dancing, including hip-hop, tap, jazz, pom, lyrical and clogging.
“This is only the beginning for the Campbell Dance Team,” Adams said. “We are going to keep competing and keep working hard to represent Campbell in the best way and bring home a national title.”
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