Dancers rise to the Challenge

Dance team finishes second and third in Guelph; prepares for Daytona meet

The competitive dance team finished second and third at the University Dance Challenge hosted by the University of Guelph.
The competitive dance team finished second and third at the University Dance Challenge hosted by the University of Guelph.
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The competitve dance team is preparing for the American national championships in April.
The competitve dance team is preparing for the American national championships in April.
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Dancers on the Queen’s competitive dance team placed second and third respectively at the University Dance Challenge last weekend in Guelph.

The team also won the small group event. Queen’s was one of 13 universities to participate in the competition and was represented in five events: a solo routine, a duet, two small groups and the full-team number. The dancers placed second in the full team event and their performance was good enough for a third overall finish in the competition.

Dancers Paige Cooper, Ashley Jenkins, Kelsey Fitzpatrick and Ashley Tyrrell took first place in the small group event. Their performance not only gave them second place overall, but recognition from the judges for outstanding choreography. “That was a huge accomplishment,” team co-captain Angela Cescon said. “Three groups out of all the 70 were recognized, and their’s was one of them.”

Each university participates in a number of events, where they are given an overall score and ranking within the event. Overall placing is determined purely by score, and all groups are compared against one another regardless of event, which is how Queen’s was able to placeboth second and third overall. The small group finished second and the full-team finished third.

“Our other small group was in the top three as well,” co-captain Sarah Rainboth added, but said the team didn’t know if they finished second or third because it wasn’t announced. Cescon traveled with the team, but couldn’t participate in any of the dance events due to an ankle injury she suffered two days before the event. “She was so supportive and great to have along,” Thomson said. “We only [had] five people in the audience, and they were the loudest five people there.”

The competition isn’t an Ontario University Athletics event. It’s run by the Terpsichore Dance Celebration, a company that organizes dance competitions across Canada and the U.S.

“I hope that one day it is an OUA-recognized sport,” Queen’s dancer Lauren Thomson said. “It deserves to be. There are enough schools to participate and dance on a competitive level.”

The dance team is now preparing to compete at the National Cheerleading Association and National Dance Association National Championships, taking place in Daytona Beach, Fla., from April 4 to 8.

Queen’s was the only Canadian school to qualify for the event. Queen’s will be competing in Division 1A, the highest level of competition at the event. “We’re really working now to get ready for that,” Rainboth said. So far, the team has raised over $10,000 for the trip through fundraising and sponsorship. “We hope to make the finals, but it will be an experience nonetheless,” Thomson added.

Cooper and Jenkins will be the captains of the team next year, and outgoing dancers are confident that the team has been left in good hands. “They’ll do great things,” Cescon said.

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