The University of Cincinnati dance team came home with yet another national title this year. On January 15, 2017, UC won the Division 1A Hip-Hop category.
On the first day, the 16 dancers took the floor during the semi-finals, and placements did not go as planned. The team was given 4th place behind Louisiana State University, the University of Memphis, and the University of Kentucky, who was holding 1st place at the time. This was a very stressful and emotional night after hearing the standings. Many alumni dancers had sent the team videos containing motivational tips and quotes explaining how to pull together and claim the hip-hop title Cincinnati started.
The night before the finals round, the entire team and head coach piled into one hotel room and listened to what some of the former dancers had to say. Tears of joy and the drive to win started to take over everyone in the room and at that point, each dancer knew exactly what they had to do to win the next day. One of the core values the University of Cincinnati Dance Team has is their inherent bond of friendship.
Fifth-year senior, Courtney Dang, explained how she thought the team conquered their goal: “I think we really used a lot of teamwork and A LOT of courage and faith to make the lights hit together. We really set our minds to it and an it ended up in our favor”. All 16 dancers left everything they had in their hearts on the floor and showed the judges exactly what they wanted in the final competition. When awards finally came around in the evening, no one had any idea what to expect. Even teams competing against the Bearcats were making comments about the placements from semi-finals possibly changing.
The announcer was handing out awards and it finally came down to the last two teams in the 1A hip hop division – the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati. When “The University of…” was announced for the 2nd place award, the team was holding onto each other for dear life. In the end, the Bearcats took back the title and became national hip hop champions. As ESPN was interviewing fifth-year senior, Lauren Hawkins, after the triumphant win, she said, “the University of Cincinnati Dance Team has never jumped from 4th to 1st before.” This is why this win was so special to everyone who was a part of it. Moving up three placements is a very difficult thing to do, but this goes to show the legendary UCDT is capable of accomplishing just about anything.
By Taylor D’Ambrosia