Rochester Dance Team takes home 5th, 7th place at Nationals


Mariam Hanna, Co-editor-in-chief

On February 23, the fifteen dancers on the Rochester Varsity Dance Team were sitting in a circle on the floor of Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Fl. at Dance Team Union Nationals holding hands and praying to hear their team’s name announced in the Top 10. They did.

The RVDT won 5th in the country for their pom dance and 7th for jazz, making them double finalists. 

“Once they were calling top 10, I couldn’t believe we accomplished our goal, especially getting top five for pom,” senior and captain Emily Conley said. “I was so happy and proud of how well we did, not only at Nationals but throughout the whole year.”

Last year, the dance team had a rocky season but ended up placing top ten in both their dances. With this success came the pressure to do just as well this time around. Thanks to the girls’ hard work, along with that of their new coach, Lisa Niskar, this pressure had a positive impact.

Before nationals, I had a ton of adrenaline pumping me up to do well that weekend,” junior Eliza Farrell said. “I definitely wasn’t as nervous this year compared to previous years because Coach Lisa really prepared us.”

The RVDT has been working towards Nationals their entire season with practices throughout summer and the school year, sideline dancing at football games back in the fall, and competing locally. Going into Nationals, they felt confident in their routines and themselves.

“Going into Nationals, I was sad that it would be my last one, but more excited to take the stage with my team,” Conley said. “We had worked so hard all year and we were all ready to compete.”

A major rival the entire season for the RVDT was Dakota High School. Because of that, beating them at Nationals was unbelievable but beyond exciting for them.

“The main thing going through our heads was ‘We beat Dakota!’” Farrell said. “They are one of our biggest rivals and we hadn’t beaten them all season, so beating them seemed like we won the entire competition.”

Both Conley and Farrell cite this accomplishment as their favorite memory from the season.

“I have so many memories from this year,” Conley said. “I will never forget our reaction at Nationals and we found out we beat Dakota High School in jazz. We were so happy and excited, and couldn’t believe it.”

Dancing on the stage that Sunday afternoon was bittersweet for Conley and other seniors on the team. They knew it would be the last time they danced with one another after building an unbreakable bond over their four years together.

“I want to thank my team for giving me an amazing last year,” Conley said. “I wish them the best of luck in the future, and I will always be rooting for them.”