The University Dance Team performs at various events throughout the academic year. The dancers hail from places such as Columbia, California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The team is compromised of 14 enthusiastic students who give a constant presence at the University. Students watch their upbeat routines at the basketball and footballs games, but this team’s dedication goes far beyond the time they spent on the court.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the University Dance Team attended the NDA/NCA National Championship Competition in Daytona, Fl. As 70 collegiate dance teams prepared for their shot at winning in Daytona, the University Dance Team was pulling their weight in devotion to the school, as well as their love for dance.
The women started with an “open” dance for the competition. This category can include anything from lyrical, jazz or pom. This was dance to the song “Without a Word” by Birdy.
“Dance divisions are based on size of school and athletic program,” says Jacquelyn Kupferer-Fowler, the dance team coach.
This year, the women competed in Division 1A against schools such as BYU, Louisville, Boston College, Purdue, University of Texas and others of the like.
“Nothing can rival the feeling I had backstage when they called our names to perform for the last time at finals,” says freshman Alexis Bernard. “I was so excited to attack the dance and show the country what we have to offer.”
In this dance, the girls placed third in open category.
In another category, the girls focused on hip-hop. In Division 1, they competed against schools like Towson, Texas A&M and Wichita State. The team placed second out of the whole division, averaging a 9.93.
“This year they had 33 percent more colleges attend than in 2012,” Kupferer-Fowler says. “So there was more competition in both divisions.”
In open dance, the team scored the highest in the whole division for technical skills with a 9.73 average. The dances vary in choreographers. For example, the hip-hop dance was choreographed by Kupferer-Fowler.
“Our success at Nationals served as much-needed recognition of the talent and unrelenting work ethic of our team,” says junior Anna Beeman. “I don’t think people realize how much we put into performing and competing. It was nice to see that these judges obviously saw that dedication come through at the competition.”
The University Dance Team is fairly new to this national competition, this being only the third time that they have been in attendance.
“I knew from the beginning of the year that there was something special about this team and through each member’s hard-work, support and dedication, we are now able to say that we are top two in the nation,” says sophomore Emily Jendra
’Nova’s team, in competitions like these, are competing against most people that have scholarships to dance at their University.
“Our team fundraises every year to even be able to attend,” Kupferer- Fowler says.
The year of a Dance Team member is intense, filled with multitasking to fit in all activities.
The year begins in August, when they attend a student-run camp at the University, followed by auditions. September to November, the team performs at football games while preparing for the basketball season. The next five or six months, until April rolls around, the team dedicated their time to practice for competition.
“Being a member of the University Dance Team has defined my Villanova experience,” says senior Stephanie Magyarits. “As the graduating senior captain, I can honestly say that this is the hardest working, most passionate team I have ever been a part of. I would not trade a single moment I have had with this team for anything.”
The women practice four days a week, and are constantly working on their dances as well as the commitments they have outside of the team. Ranging in majors from chemical engineering, English, pre-med, math, communication, VSB, secondary education and psychology, these girls are extremely dedicated in all areas of their lives and their outcome at the NDA National Dance Competition is a testament to that.
“This is a huge deal for the representation of our university and community,” Kupferer-Fowler says.
In addition to basketball and football games, the dancers involve themselves in many other University events.
This includes anything from St. Thomas of Villanova Day, Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Special Olympics, Hoops Mania, Candidates’ Day, Relay for Life and various Dance Team clinics.
“Every one of my teammates is unique, but together we are absolutely unstoppable,” Magyarits says. “Finishing my time at Villanova by becoming a member of a Top 3 dance team in the country is something I will cherish forever.”
The team is not only comprised of dancers, but also students and friends who are looking to build a legacy here on campus.
“The Dance Team has worked tremendously hard this year and it has definitely paid off,” says junior Theresa Sedlacek.“Placing top three nationally in two dance divisions with increased competition is the most amazing accomplishment. Our team is extremely talented and passionate and proud to represent Villanova. I’m so proud to be a member of this team.”
Coach Kupferer-Fowler could not be more proud of her team in all they accomplished and how well they represent our school.
“In my 11 years of coaching I have never seen a group of young ladies be so close and respect each other as much as they do,” Kupferer-Fowler says. “There was mutual trust all around and I attribute that to their success. It is my pleasure to coach them and the reward at nationals was something I will never forget.”
The team hopes to keep advancing not only in competitions at Nationals, but in their passions and successes in all areas at the University.
The Villanova Dance Team has worked tremendously hard to commit themselves to their passions, and excel in all campus-wide events in which they participate. They hope to continue in their excellent representation of the University.
If you would like to receive any more information regarding the dance team please contact coach Jacquelyn Kupferer-Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the website for more information at http://www.students.villanova.edu/danceteam/.