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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Dance team finishes second and fifth at nationals

St. Joe’s finished third in poms and fourth in hip-hop at Nationals last season. PHOTO COURTESTY OF: SJU Dance Team

While the rest of the St. Joe’s community was enjoying their time off, the St. Joe’s dance team was practicing twice a day to prepare for the rapidly approaching UDA National Championship, taking place in Orlando from Jan. 17-19.

One week into the new semester, the dance team traveled to Orlando to compete for the national championship trophy.

“We start practice the day after the last day of finals,” senior captain Giovanna Boscarino said. “We go all the way up until Christmas Eve, then we go home for the holiday and come back before the New Year. After New Year’s Day, we are here practicing until the new semester starts.”

The St. Joe’s dance team received their national championship bid back in August 2019. They learned the choreography for their nationals-specific routines in September 2019.

“Nobody sees the amount of hours these girls put into this journey,” said Coach Rachel Reese ’15, an alum of both the school and the dance team. “As an alum who can empathize with them and a coach that has witnessed them every step of the way, I was just so thrilled they performed the way that they did.”

The dance team returned to Hawk Hill with two national championship trophies, placing second in Division I hip-hop and fifth in Division I poms.

“We started to see a mood change in the team about two weeks before nationals,” Coach Vikira Pigford ’16 said. “The girls got more focused, more driven, and from that point we knew that we were going to have a great showing at nationals.”

St. Joe’s was first represented at the UDA National Championship back in 2003. Since then, the dance team has recorded three first place wins, one in poms in 2015 and two in hip-hop in 2014 and 2015.

The Hawk’s hip-hop routine this year, however, was something that set them apart from the competition and from past performances.

“[The hip-hop routine was] by far one of the most entertaining, stylized and fun routines I have been able to perform in my four years on the team,” Boscarino said.

With multiple different styles of hip-hop included in the routine, the Hawks were able to solidify their place in the top seven teams that made it to the finals, and from there, second place overall.

“The way the choreography connected with this specific team was on another level,” Reese said. “They radiated with confidence, swag, and just looked like they were having a blast every time they performed it.”

According to Boscarino, “every single second” of the practice that the team put in throughout the year paid off at nationals. Boscarino’s coaches would agree.

“I truly have never been prouder of an SJU performance at nationals,” Reese said. “It was one of the most memorable routines we’ve ever done, and the team had a flawless performance. As an alum and coach of the team, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

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