The women of the Gustavus dance team traveled to Anaheim, California to participate in the USA Collegiate Championships, a national competition in which they placed second out of eight teams in their division from all over the West Coast.
The team has been more performance-oriented since 2009 when they made the decision to become more involved in competitions, the same year they first traveled to the USA Collegiate Championships. Competition has become more difficult since the team last competed, and this year there were several more teams in their division. It comes as no surprise, then, that the team members have been highly anticipating their performance in Anaheim.
“I was really excited for the team to show off the routine we had been working on all year, and it was in front of a bunch of schools that had no idea who we were. By going to Nationals we took competing to a new level,” Junior Co-captain Krista Ripperton said.
The women have been practicing three times a week from September to March and have been working especially hard on their performance to Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” with which they delighted audiences and judges alike at the competition on April 17.
“We have been working on our dance for Nationals since October. Not only have we been working on our routine since then, but we have also been working on trying to raise enough money to get there. We’ve been doing different fundraisers throughout the year, and we were given money from Senate as a club sport to travel,” Ripperton said.
They have enjoyed an overall successful season, placing first at the St. Thomas Invitational and second at Minnesota Timberwolves Dance Competition sponsored by Wow Factor Sports.
“The team is a lot stronger this year than it has been in the past. We have strong girls and have been having strong performances,” Senior Co-captain Jessica Erickson said.
There is no doubt that the hard work and dedication of the dance team members has paved the way for their successes.
“The talent these ladies bring to the dance floor is really something to be admired. The court is their playing field, the practices leave their bodies feeling like jello, and the competition is fierce,” Coach and Gustavus alumna Rachel Schmalz ’12 said.
The success the women achieved in Anaheim exemplifies the way in which the dance team has grown in the last few years as well as sets new standards for the team’s future.
“We are all very excited [about placing second]. The last time Gustavus went to the competition they got third out of four teams so we have accomplished a lot as a team,” Erickson said.
The trip also allowed the team to spend some quality time together.
“Going to Nationals brought us a lot closer together as a team, and it reminded us of why we love to dance. It made all of our hard work and dedication throughout the year worth it,” Ripperton said.