Dance team improves placement at nationals
Patty Tierney and the women's soccer team pull out two exciting victories to remain undefeated on the season.
While most students came back to campus after Easter break and got back into their routine of classes and schoolwork, the 16 members of the University's dance team headed to sunny Daytona Beach, Fla.
Competing at the National Dance Alliance Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships from April 11 to 15, the dance team made it straight through the preliminary rounds and placed fourth overall in its 14-team division.
This was the second time the dance team competed at nationals. They attended nationals for the first time just a year ago at the 2011 competition, where they came in fifth place.
Senior co-captain Alyssa Coiro speaks proudly of her team and its improvement in placement.
"The best part about Nationals was definitely improving on our performance from last year," Coiro says. "We worked really hard, and it's nice to see the hard work pay off. Another cool thing was that we went into finals in fifth place, and after dancing in finals, moved up to fourth place. I'm really proud of everyone."
Coiro also expects the dance team to continue this pattern of improvement.
"As a graduating senior captain, I'd like to see the dance team continue to improve upon our performance at nationals, and to set a goal of reaching our full potential," Coiro says. "Winning at nationals means that the dance team is in good hands for the future, and with continued hard work, more success is sure to happen."
Although nationals is the dance team's only competition of the year, the members of the team perform at all home football and basketball games, as well as at Big East Basketball at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In addition, the dance team has performed at various community events on campus, such as Special Olympics, St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service, Relay for Life and Candidates' Day.
When they were not performing on campus or around the Main Line, the dance team held practices four to five days per week for two to three hours in order to prepare for nationals. The team worked on its routine, choreographed by Shannon Nichols, for the entire spring semester.
According to Coiro, unlike all of the other teams in their division, the University dance team does not have a coach that helps them. In addition, the members of the team met with the choreographer only one time before nationals.
To pay for nationals, the team raised over $15,000 through their fundraising efforts, which included hosting dance clinics for young girls in the community, a partnership with Wayne Elementary School, selling T-shirts and soliciting donations. Junior co-caption Stephanie Magyartis agrees with Coiro's sentiment that the team's main goal is to keep improving.
"Getting fourth place means that we are improving and that we are getting better," Magyartis says. "We have officially made a name for Villanova University in the 'dance world' and that feels amazing. Next year, nationals will only be better."
According to Magyartis, the team's goal for next year is to break the top three.
"I am confident that we will," Magyartis says. "We also always have the consistent goal of just simply getting better and we do work really hard to achieve this."
Magyartis speaks highly of her team and how well they work together. Because they do not have a coach, the members of the team are in charge of travel details, costumes and make-up, hiring a choreographer and transportation.
"We did it all together and this really bonds our team," Magyartis says. "From the practices, to the games, to competing at nationals and, most importantly, the girls, I love every part of being on the dance team."
Junior member Shannon Walsh mirrors Magyartis' view on the close relationship that the girls on the team have.
"I never competed in high school, so this has been a whole new experience for me," Walsh says. "I think competing creates a strong bond between all of the members on the team because we have to work together in order to be successful and come out with a win."