Dance Team Set to Defend Championship at Nationals

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The University of Indianapolis Dance Team is set to compete in Nationals in Orlando, Florida, according to Head Coach Carlee Bachek. According to the College Classic 2024 National Championship website, the competition kicks off April 12.

The team is the defending champions, having won the competition in 2023, according to Bachek. This year she said the team has been increasing their focus on mental preparation. 

Photo by Allison Cook Team captain and junior communication major Andi Parks during a series of turns while rehearsing one of the dance team’s national routines. The team rehearses for several hours during the week in hopes of bringing home another championship win.

“The last two years, we’ve come home with a national championship,” Bachek said. “I think there’s some pressure that’s kind of building to make sure that we’re continuing to represent our program well … but the way we prepare is the same. We’re just trying to kind of outdo ourselves every year so whatever we did last year, we’re trying to one up it this year.”

Team Captain and junior communication major Andi Parks said the team has been practicing around the clock to prepare for the competition. According to Parks, this includes long hours and hard work over the weekends.

“We’re working really, really, really hard,” Parks said. “Lots of long practices, lots of long hours, but we really hope that it was worth it. And we’re gonna go out there and put our best foot on the floor in Orlando.…Fridays can be from like, about like four to eight and then Saturdays can be anywhere from like 8 a.m. to like five o’clock somewhere in between that time.”

According to Bachek, she has been on the coaching staff for ten years so it has been exciting to watch the team grow. Bachek said when she first started coaching, the program was much smaller than it is now and the team did not enter competitions, much less at the national level like they are doing now. Bachek said over the years, the competition has gotten harder, but the girls on the team have also become more technically advanced and stronger, culminating in back-to-back championship wins. 

In addition to practicing and improving with long, intense practices, Parks said the practices have also helped fostering a ‘family’ atmosphere among the team. According to Parks, this has allowed the team to create a strong bond.

“Our team culture is very family oriented, kind of like we’re all one big family,” Parks said. “We have to get along with each other so much, we have to create those bonds and we do feel like sisters by the end of it.”

The team competed in a virtual competition earlier this year and the scores were not what the team wanted, Parks said. Because dance is subjective, it is up to judges to determine the best team, she said. 

“I think that while that did suck to get scores back that weren’t the best, not exactly what we hoped, it’ll help us and direct us this next two or three weeks that we have left into the right direction,” Parks said. “We’re making the changes, we’re doing what the judges told us in our critiques.” 

However, Parks said this season the team has worked incredibly hard to improve and build upon previous seasons. According to Parks, the team has already accomplished so much.

“No matter what happens, I’m so proud of this team and I’m so proud of everything that we’ve accomplished so far and we have such a strong bond and we’ve just had an overall great season,” Parks said. “… But as long as we go out there and we put on the best performance that we have so far this season, then I say we won.”

Photo by Allison Cook Indy dancers hit a formation while running their pom routine for their upcoming nationals competition. The team hopes to bring back another championship when the competition kicks off on April 12.

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