Photos by Tori Roberts
By Mitchell Lockhart
On Sunday, the Dazzlers won their thirteenth national title in pom in the last 14 years. In addition to winning a title in pom, they also placed fifth in the nation in hip hop. Even though excellence is expected, winning a title is still everything to the team.
“Winning nationals is so important. Most teams aim for making it to finals, or making top five, but our program has become so successful that we are not content with anything other than a national championship. We work extremely hard, and most people do not understand how much we work. Hearing our name called last is the best thing in the world. We work for that feeling because there is nothing better,” said senior Maddy Robinson.
Since the program has become so dominant, there are unreal amounts of pressure put on the dancers to be prepared to perform at their peak during nationals.
“We do as much as we possibly can to prepare for nationals. We practice four days a week all year round. Once competition season hits, we are practicing non stop, including weekends and all day practices. We do our routine with wrist weights twice to start off practice, drill our fouete sequence line by line, and complete at least two good full outs of each routine by the end of practice. We also attend a personal trainer once a week year round to become conditioned for the skills in our routines,” said junior Olivia Didat.
During all this training and practicing, the team’s bond develops, which is a vital part to their success.
“We prepare for nationals day and night by training and working on technical skills. This allows us to bond with each other throughout the year,” said sophomore Sara Brown.
Another important part of preparing for nationals is doing full out routines in front of audiences.
“It is important for us as performers to be able to get in front of audiences as much as possible. Practice is a completely different dynamic aside from performing for a live audience. Also, it is nice to show our friends and family our nationals routine who will not be able to come to Florida to see what we have been working towards all year,” said senior Sydney Wooten.
All of this preparation and hard work payed off, and according to Didat, the Dazzlers were satisfied with both of their routines at nationals.
“I am beyond proud of our performances this year at nationals. I can honestly say we did our absolute best for both pom and hip hop. Our prelims performance was good to begin with, advancing straight to the finals,” said Didat. “Our finals routines were 10 times better all around. Even while performing I could feel the energy throughout everyone on the floor. We definitely gave our absolute best and I could not be happier with how our performances turned out.”
By Ashton Beck
In 2003, the Dazzlers began their consecutive wins at the UDA National Championship in Orlando, Florida. All the way to 2011, they won in the Pom division, but in 2012 it was the first time they double-titled in both pom and hip-hop.