Dance team does Daytona Beach

Gaels first Canadian team to qualify for U.S. nationals

The Queen’s dance team performs at the men’s basketball game Saturday in Bartlett Gym.
The Queen’s dance team performs at the men’s basketball game Saturday in Bartlett Gym.
Photo by Anne Kloosterman

The Queen’s dance team will make history this spring as the first Canadian team to compete at the
U.S. National Cheerleading Association and National Dance Association National Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla. The competition will take place April 4 to 8. In order to qualify, the team submitted a video of their performance.

“In the video we had to have 30-second routines in hip-hop, jazz, technical and pom-pom,” dancer Paige Cooper said.

Dancer Maital Falkovitz added that the Gaels qualified for Division 1A, the highest level of competition. Both Falkovitz and Cooper are in their second year, and are two of the six second-year dancers on the team.

“I don’t think many teams have considered going,” dancer Lauren Thomson said. “We’re definitely
initiating something, so you may see more Canadian teams in the future.”

She added that the cost of the event is likely a deterrent for some schools. Queen’s is currently fundraising for the trip The Dance team includes 16 members and is led by two student coaches, Angela Cescon and Sarah Rainboth, who are also dancers on the team. Thomson said all the girls on he team contribute to the routine that they perform. “We have more of our personality in our dance, a little bit more of a progressive style. It’s something new, something fresh,” Falkovitz said. Cooper and Thomson said that Q ueen’s will differ in style from their American counterparts, which may help them. “[US schools] focus so much more on the technical aspects,” Thomson said. “More personalized
would be the best way to describe us, there’s a lot more feeling.” “We’ve also got a lot more movement,” Falkovitz added. “If you can take all the technical moves and add in all the personalized moves and synchronize, it’s so much more effective.”

“What we’re trying to do is find a balance,” Cooper said. “We’re trying to keep our individuality and our style, but be as precise as we can. “Basically we just want to go down to Daytona and hold our
own and just do the best we can.” The Gaels will also compete at the University Dance Challenge in Guelph on March 10. “[Two years ago] we won the interuniversity championship which was amazing, and last year we placed third overall,” Thomson said. “We want dance to become a more popular
sport in university.”

For Thomson, this will be her last year on the team. She is a history major in the fourth year of her program and is one of seven graduating dancers on the team. Cooper added that the dance team is involved with the Queen’s Dance Club and hopes to recruit from there. “We’re hoping that we have a lot of good people trying out next year,” Cooper said. “We want to build a strong team and keep ournumbers up.”

“It’s tough though,” Thomson added. “I think on average we only take four or five new members each year.”

Thomson added that the Daytona Beach competition will be a big focus for the team, especially for the graduating dancers. “For a lot of us, this is our last chance to do something big, so we just want to go out and do our best and have a blast.”

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