While Stevenson’s dance team is a staple at many university sporting events, the team took a break from their classes to head to Daytona Beach, Fl., to compete in the National Dance Alliance (NDA) competition. This is the team’s second time competing at NDA nationals, but they have attended multiple Universal Dance Association (UDA) in the past.
Facing schools from all across the nation, Stevenson’s team was ranked fourth in the nation in the Division III hip-hop competition. Dance team captain Jordan Quyen Browning labeled the team’s performance as “impressive.”
“I am really proud of my team this year. A lot of the girls have never, even, done hip-hop before and to become fourth in the nation on their first try is extremely impressive,” she said.
Kelsey King, head coach of the team, said the competition is very tough but the Stevenson dancers were honored to be there.
“Schools from all across the nation were represented at the competition, and we feel honored to get to see their work and perform alongside of them each year,” added King.
Each routine is two minutes long and is judged on uniformity in movement, difficulty level, performance quality, choreography, and overall execution of the routine. Every team competes in the semi-finals the first day of the competition, but only teams with a sufficient number of points qualify for the final competition the next day.
While the NDA is a highly anticipated event for college dance teams, preparation for the event requires team members to have an enormous amount of dedication.
“We began their routine back in December,” said King. “Their practice schedule consists of two three-hour long practices a weekend, with required conditioning/gym times during the week to build strength and stamina.”
By the time the team made it to NDA to compete, they were ready– nervous, but ready. According to Quyen Browning, part of the nerves and excitement comes from not knowing how each competing team is going to perform.
“I think [the girls] were a little intimidated by the other teams,” she said “but our last performance was the best we ever did it. I mean, fourth in the nation isn’t half bad.”
The goal for next season is to make finals, according to King.
“That is something that they have never done, and we were one spot away from making it [this year],” said King. “That will be the biggest goal moving into the next season.”
And for the graduating senior walking away from the team, this year’s trip to nationals was the cherry on top of an amazing college experience. For Quyen Browning, watching her team work together and seeing their immense growth meant more than any placement ever would have.
“Being captain for three years, I feel like my teammates have really benefitted from everything I have helped them with,” said Quyen Browning. “The one thing I hope they take away from me is to never give up, work your butt off, and to set your goals as high as you can.”