Nationals re-cap and looking forward…

Nationals are over and my year as Assumption College Dance Team captain is rapidly coming to an end.

We arrived to a sunny day in Florida on Wednesday, April 7th and were greeted by the Hilton Hotel, the grandest of all the hotels on the Daytona strip.  (And our reward for winning a partially paid bid to the Championships.)  We settled into our rooms and relaxed for about a minute before changing into our practice clothes and heading to a room we rented to practice in.  Two hours later we emerged sweaty, but happy.  This might be the year we make it to finals.

It was a disappointing blow, at least to me.  Being super competitive, I was trained to be the best and I pride myself on my advanced dance abilities (slight pat on the back, yes…)  Nonetheless, we performed in Prelims better than we ever had before; we even made our coach cry (which was a slight victory in itself overall.)  But I suppose I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

The way the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Nationals Championships work is simple but complicated at the same time.  Your division placement is based upon your school, in our case, because AC is Division II, we compete against other Division II schools.  This year, our division consisted of 15 different schools from around the country and Japan.  The fifteen teams competed in Prelims and the seven teams with the highest scores automatically advance to Finals which are held the next day.  The rest of the teams are entered into the “Challenge Cup” and dance again that same afternoon.

With a score of 8.1 after Prelims, my team realized that we were in second place going into the Challenge Cup right behind the University of Minnesota Mankato.  Slightly disheartened but still eager to push towards finals, we viewed the tape of our Prelims performance, tweaked a few key points in the routine and returned to the auditorium at 3:30 p.m. later that day.  Because we were second in the division at this point, we danced second to last, right before Mankato.

The awards ceremony came with swift wing and before we knew it, we were on stage once more, only this time, we sat in a circle holding hands.  When it came down to our team and Mankato, only .008 separated the second place team from the team who would advance to finals.  From the disappointed statement I made earlier, I thin you can determine who came in second.

So I did my crying … to my boyfriend, my mom, my sister (who’s team, Stonehill College, did make it to finals in our division), and my co-captain/best friend.  I sulked longer than my other teammates before reluctantly coming around.

Though frustration and heartache determined my attitude for the following few hours, the hot sun and beach sand called my name until coming home on Sunday night.  By then, the underclassmen on the team, along with my coach, were already talking about and planning next year.  I was slightly hurt by these sentiments; was I not a good captain?  Did I fail my team by not making it to finals?  Is there something else I could have done?

But at this point, it doesn’t matter.  My team worked hard and I believe that overall, it paid off.  At the same time, I think it’s a testament to the fact that I am graduating, moving on and :gulp: have to let go.  Dance will still be part of me; I go to Oklahoma in a mere 5 weeks for NDA summer staff training, but as far as dance team goes, the younger girls are ready to take it on and make it what they want for next year.  I relinquish it to them… and can only wish them the best of luck.

I think it’s safe to say – I’m ready to pass this torch.

(Want to know more about how nationals went?  Visit www.varsity.com to see results and videos and keep an eye out for my end-of-the-semester project – a research paper dedicated to the nationals process and how this year stacks up!)

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Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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