Mickey and the gang seemed to be talking about the Debs’ recent trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. On Friday, Feb. 2, twenty-two members of the Dominican Debs dance team and coaches Ms. Fran Moran (’87) and Mrs. Sina Baldwin (’84) boarded a plane and took off to Orlando, FL for the Universal Dance Association (UDA) National Dance Competition.
Each year at the UDA Nationals, teams from all over the country come together to compete for national team and ensemble dance titles. The competition was tough, but the Debs danced their way through the competition
First, the Debs performed two ensemble dances. The hip hop ensemble dance advanced to the semi-finals with their performance “Switch It Up.” When the competition was over, the hip hop ensemble placed eleventh in the nation.
Though the jazz ensemble with their performance titled “Better Off” did not place in the semi-finals, the group received tremendous praise from the audience.
“We didn’t get as far as we wanted, but we put our hearts out there,” said Ms. Moran. “It is only our second year at UDA Nationals, and we are constantly inspired to see where we can improve to keep getting stronger.”
Debs who were not a part of the ensemble routines joined their teammates to support Dominican as well as explore the parks in Disney World on the four-day trip.
“The Disney trip was a great bonding experience for our team,” said senior Abbey Monzon. “I got to cheer on my friends at the competition and had a blast riding the rides in Disney World with my team.”
The Debs Dominate State
A few weeks prior to UDA Nationals, the Debs competed in the American All-Star State competition on Jan. 14. in Lafayette.
Out of nine soloists who earned spots in the finals, three were Dominican Debs.
Eighth grader Katelin Obletz won second place in the junior high division, freshman Rylie McCluskey won second place in the junior varsity division and senior Maddie McGovern won second place in the senior division.
“Since it was my first year competing with the Debs, I didn’t know what to expect,” said solo performer Obletz. “I was so excited when my name was called, and my whole team was cheering for me.”
In addition to the soloists, the entire Debs team placed in the State competition. Under the tutelage of Denise Marie DiCharry, renowned local choreographer, the Debs began practicing their team dances in June 2017. The hours of work paid off when the Debs placed multiple times in the team competition.
The team’s jazz performance received second place, and pom placed first along with hip hop. The hip hop routine also received a choreography award and a technique award.
The Debs’ motto this year, “Earned, Not Given,” encouraged the dancers and coaches to put in time and hard work during preparation for competition season.
“After hearing the results of the competitions, the team realized that ‘Earned, Not Given’ was the perfect motto for us,” said Debs Captain McGovern. “I am so proud of my team for giving it their all both in practice and during the performances.”
- Claire Dinwiddie