By Catherine Achille
Mark your calendars bulldogs, the Bryant Dance and Cheer Teams will be performing their Nationals routines on April 2nd, at 2 p.m. in the Chace before departing to compete in the NCA/NDA Competition. Each year both the cheer and dance team travel to Daytona, FL and compete head to head with all of the major D1 schools across the country. The process is a little confusing, so let me break it down for you. On the first day you compete, prelims, only the top half of each division advances, qualifying for finals. After your preliminary performance each team waits anxiously while the judges crunch away at numbers to produce your final score. Once the teams moving onto finals have been announced, it is back to practicing and preparing for the next day. Making it to finals is one of the most exhilarating feelings a cheerleader or dancer can feel. They have proven that all of their hard work throughout the year was finally worth it. Placing in the top half of your division means you are now up against the best of the best, and if you want to move up in the ranks, you need to try ten times harder.
Both cheer and dance have a number of divisions. For dance there are four main categories that you can choose to enter into: Hip Hop, Jazz, Pom, or Team Performance. The Team Performance is a little different, and most people probably have no clue what it is. This category involves incorporating jazz, pom, and hip hop all into one routine. There must be a certain amount of time spent on each section of the dance and each transition must flow into the next. For the first time in program history, the Bryant Dance Team will be moving from their usual Jazz division to the Team Performance. For cheer teams you are classified based on your schools division and whether you are coed or all girl. This year the Bryant Cheer Team will be in All Girl Division I.
Every year the two teams come together to put on an event for family, friends, and the Bryant community highlighting all of the hard work they have put into learning their routine. All of the neighboring New England cheer and dance teams who will be competing in the NCA/NDA College Nationals are also invited to attend. There is typically ten to fifteen teams who travel to Bryant to showcase their routines. The Annual Sendoff first started as a way for New England teams to show their support for one another, and it has since become a tradition each year. The event is free to all Bryant students, so why not come down and cheer them on!
When you think of the cheer and dance teams you picture them performing sidelines and halftime routines at the home football and basketball games; but the program also offers a competitive team. This competitive team is not nearly as recognized as they deserve to be. They work year round learning and cleaning a routine that will be showcased for millions of people. A lot goes on behind the scenes in order to perfect their routines including extra practices, workouts, and technique classes. Let’s all show the cheer and dance teams that we recognize how hard they’ve been working to prepare for Nationals. Please come out to show your support on April 2nd at 2 p.m. in the Chace!