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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

After having a week to process the dancer’s equivalent to the Super Bowl, here are my opinions on the UDA College Dance National Championship

Varsity Spirit
Various photos from routines by Ohio State, Minnesota, Louisiana State, Florida State, and Central Florida.

It has been a little over a week since the best weekend of the year for dancers and dance lovers alike.

It was our Super Bowl. Our Olympics. For three days, we all put all of our attention into the UDA College Dance National Championship. 

From January 12-14, college dance teams from across the country traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete for the national title with their gameday, pom, jazz, and hip-hop routines. Since I didn’t have access to the live stream—$10 I didn’t feel like paying—I was constantly refreshing my TikTok and YouTube waiting for the routines to be uploaded immediately after their performance. 

That weekend marked history in the dance industry. One of the first routines that came across my feed was the University of Minnesota’s jazz. The team won the national championship for jazz in 2023 with a routine choreographed by Talia Favia, so I knew that, once again, they were going to leave me absolutely stunned with whatever they came up with.

This year, the team did a self-choreographed routine, which in itself is incredibly impressive without even watching the dance. The music was “Dream On” by Aerosmith, which simply added to everything amazing about the routine. And I haven’t even gotten to the part where they made history.

Now, for the readers who do not know too much about dance, a large part of both pom and jazz routines are the turning sequences. Turns are a skill that are quite complex and take years to master. There were multiple turning sequences in the routine, all of which were perfect. Team member Matthew Greco had solo turns where he did an intricate sequence right out of a front flip. I don’t think I breathed during that entire part. Even more so when the team’s now famous turn sequence started. Everyone on the team did an aerial in the middle of tuning and then continued right after. My mind was blown. My jaw was so far dropped I was scared that it was going to be unhinged. I was amazed.

What shocked many people was the fact that Minnesota’s team got second overall rather than first. However, after having seen the first-place routine, I cannot argue with the judges’ decision.

The Ohio State University did their jazz routine to “My Way” by Frank Sinatra and choreographed by Travis Wall. The team’s performance was absolutely breathtaking. The entire routine was so impressive and clean. Even though their turns didn’t have an aerial mid-sequence, they were still perfect. Along with that, OSU incorporated their costume into their choreography. The best part was when all the girls were whipping their vests on the floor simultaneously. The emotion in that part of the dance was almost overwhelming to those watching.

Here is the controversy between the two routines: many people believe that Minnesota should’ve won because of their turns. However, one of the girls fell out of them during the semifinals. Then again, a tie from one of the OSU girls fell off that same round. I, however, agree with the judges. OSU deserved that win. Their routine had a story. It was executed flawlessly. The emotion was bleeding through my screen. I was so excited that they won; they deserved it 100%. 

Following jazz, the hip-hop category also had an iconic routine win the national title. Louisiana State University, who won back in 2022 with their “Like a Boy” performance, brought to the stage this year a routine to “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson, choreographed by Tribe 99. LSU has always been known for their incredible hip-hop dances, but this one takes the cake. Their moves were so clean and so much fun to watch. For a split second, I was worried that the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who won last year, would beat them, but I was so happy to see the outcome. 

Matthew Greco, once again, served a whole feast with his flawless turns.

Some of my other favorite hip-hop routines were the University of Central Florida, who did their routine to “Roman’s Revenge” by Nicki Minaj. Their choreography was so mesmerizing and incredibly clean. Moreover, I loved the University of Cincinnati’s dance, which hasn’t been getting enough credit. They had amazing choreography and I was obsessed with the partner work they incorporated. The hip-hop category is always so entertaining; I was incredibly invested this year with all of the dances and I cannot stop watching them.

Along with jazz and hip hop, the other style of dance I love watching is pom. This style of dance requires an immense amount of strength, precision, and technique. The visuals in these routines are absolutely incredible. The national champion for this style was the University of Minnesota. Their pom, choreographed by Amanda Gaines and Anna Hilty, was jaw-dropping. Matthew Greco, once again, served a whole feast with his flawless turns. While OSU’s, choreographed by Tribe 99, was also a homerun routine, there was nothing that could beat it. 

The third place routine that I cannot get out of my head is Pennsylvania State’s pom, choreographed by Tribe 99. Their choreography and formations were so creative, and the part of their performance where they walked across the floor like Barbies was by far one of my favorite moments from the weekend.

Though it has been a week now since the UDA College Dance National Championship has ended, I am still mentally there, giggling and gasping at the routines as I make my family and non-dancer friends watch with me. Until next year, I will be constantly replaying all of my favorite routines in my head, waiting for the next “Super Bowl.”

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About the Contributor
Sofia Hargis-Acevedo
Sofia Hargis-Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief
Sofia is a senior entering her fourth and final year writing for The Central Trend. She has grown up a writer and cannot picture herself as anything but. Along with writing, she keeps herself busy by dancing. She has been leaping across the stage since the ripe age of two, and she is currently on the FHCVDT. For Sofia, endings are bittersweet. And as she approaches her final moments walking the halls of FHC, she will try her hardest to leave her legacy within the words she writes—the words that contain her heart. Her favorite book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Her go-to dessert: a piping hot brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream Her favorite season: Fall, without a doubt fall Has she gotten over her fear of birds after three years? Nope!

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