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Magazine » January February 2013 Issue » The National Collegiate DanceSport Competition

The National Collegiate DanceSport Competition

Michael Mecham
Date Published:
January 1, 2013

The National Collegiate DanceSport competition has had another successful year. With approximately 900 collegiate athletes competing at this year's competition, there was no shortage of spectacular performances.

"The thing I love most," said one of the dancers from the University of Michigan "is just being able to see all the different dancers. It is so much fun to see how many beginning dancers are willing to go out on the dance floor and do their thing." This sentiment was repeated by many of the other competitors.

A couple students from the University of Minnesota said that their favorite part was just the atmosphere of the competition and being able to cheer on the other dancers.

This year's competition ran smoothly thanks to the help and hundreds (if not thousands) of hours by some of the dedicated staff. Amanda Ashcraft seemed to have an endless amount of energy, as she was busy registering dancers from early in the morning until late at night. Amanda's birthday usually falls during one of the days of the competition and some of the teams have started to take note. "Some of the teams have brought me gifts over the years." said Amanda. Most of the gifts have been some kind of school memorabilia, but the gifts aren't what keep Amanda coming to the competition. "I like being around the college dancers," she said, "It's different from any other tournament."

The teams all showed up with tremendous talents and all of their dancing ability was put on the line, but once again it was the University of Michigan that claimed the title as the national collegiate champions. The team shared some of their experience. "After two lengthy days of dancing and two nights of marvelous inspiration from professional dancers, we came away with our eighth national championship title and a grand prize of $5,000! We also came away with first place in the American team match and countless ribbons to our individual dancers."

This year's competition had another added bonus. Sam Sodano has given a scholarship to the winning college ballroom program in the past but this year his generous donations were extended to include the top three programs. In addition to the $5,000 that the University of Michigan received, the second place Purdue University and third place Carnegie Melon University received $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Each of the teams were incredibly grateful for Mr. Sodano's generosity and continued support of the competition.

"The Utah Valley University (UVU) Ballroom Dance Company has sent its Back-up Tour Team to the National Collegiate DanceSport Championships for the past three years and has won each year." said UVU's coach Chris Witt. "In 2010 we only entered a Standard Ballroom Medley, but in 2011 and 2012 we were able to compete in the Latin and Standard Ballroom Formation events."

UVU was the only school that brought a formation team to the competition, but that didn't discourage them. "We love attending the NCDC, even when we're the only team," said coach Witt. Kimi Clayton, one of the team captains added, "The competition gives our team a purpose. It gives us an opportunity to tour and something to work for."

When asked what makes their program so successful coach Witt said, "I think UVU excels in Formation Team Competition because of the culture in Utah. People in Utah value ballroom dance as a fun recreational activity, in fact dozens of Elementary Schools, Junior High Schools, and High Schools across the state teach ballroom dance and have ballroom dance teams that perform and compete. It's a clean, safe, and enjoyable extracurricular activity for these students. Naturally these youth programs feed into our collegiate program, strengthening the UVU teams."

Kimi and her husband Brandon are perfect examples of this. They have both been dancing since high school and are now captains and partners on the UVU team. "It's another thing that we get to spend time doing together," said Kimi, "and it's a little hard sometimes because when we get frustrated during dancing it is sometimes hard not to take it personally because we are so close to each other, but we have had a lot of fun."

The National Collegiate DanceSport Championships is a great competition for every level of dancer. "We love the energy and enthusiasm of the participants at the NCDC," agreed coach Witt, "and it's a great opportunity for ballroom dancers from across the country to meet and socialize with one another."

After the competition Witt praised his team's performance. "I'm particularly proud of this team's dedication. They rehearsed every morning at 6:45 a.m. and work very hard. We pushed them with challenging choreography and they met every challenge with a great attitude. Even when we found out that we were the only team entered into our events, the dancers still practiced hard so that they could do their very best at the NCDC."