By Kylie Garrett
Dedication, time and commitment are things the members of the dance team know well. They gave up their free time and pushed their bodies to the limit to work towards one goal: nationals.
The LIU Post Dance team traveled to Daytona, Florida on Tuesday, April 4. They set out on a 23-hour bus ride to compete in the biggest cheer competition in the nation, the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship.
They placed sixth in the “Game Day” division. The university spirit programs worked together, showcasing their talents to encourage students’ excitement in support of their university and its athletic teams. This division allows the participation of traditional sideline cheer and dance teams and incorporates of members of the school marching band, pep band, drumline and mascot.
The dance team found out two months beforehand that they were going to nationals, and this put them at a disadvantage. Other teams started preparing in August while the Pioneers started in late January.
“I think we were as ready to compete as we could have been, but after we found out we were going to nationals, I think we all really started to work harder in practices and our coach did everything she could to prepare us for the stage,” Marina Kilkenny, sophomore health sciences major, said.
The team practiced twice a week leading up to nationals, and their coach, Tiffany Farrell, added extra practices. She expected them to do whatever necessary to be able to keep their stamina up to get through routines and make sure they had the strength to be able to execute the skills correctly, whether it be extra running or practicing certain tricks on their own time.
Farrell prepared them by detailing exactly what was expected on the stage: finals took place outdoors and the dancers would have the sun in their eyes. Farrell coached them to give it their all, dance with clean and precise movements and to be synchronized. Farrell told the team to give it 95 percent, and that would be key to their success.
The dance team did not have a coach at the beginning of the school year, but they overcame this adversity with hard work. They choreographed a three-minute routine for the competition.
The members were proud of how they nished at the competition, especially with the limited amount of time they had to prepare. “Finding our 77 days prior to leaving that we were going to nationals, we knew we had to buckle down and make something happen,” Sarah Meehan, senior early childhood education major, said. “We came together as a team and put out a routine we were all very happy with and the results showed our hard work. It was an amazing experience with my teammates.”
Kilkenny said the experience of travelling and competing in the sport she loves was one for the books. “Overall, my experience at nationals was amazing. Not only was it the best on stage but also even off stage. I wouldn’t change any part of it for the world.”