Southeast Sundancers bring home national championship
The Southeast Missouri State University Sundancers traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Dance Team Union national competition and brought home the division 1 team dance national championship as well as the division 1 battle championship. The team made Sundancer history receiving their two highest scores with 93.74 on day one of the competition and 94.54 on their final performance on April 13.
It was unbelievable being able to come together as a team, especially for being so young and score our highest total in program history. I knew we had a special team in terms of talent but finding a way to build on that talent and become a championship team is a unique feat,” said coach Tatianna Parham.
This is the first year the Sundancers have taken on DTU nationals. They switched from their previous national competition in Daytona, Florida, with the National Dance Association where they placed 5 last year.
“We have a young team and we wanted to try something new and we definitely enjoyed our experience,” said Parham.
For winning the battle portion of the competition the Sundancers also receive a round-trip to Orlando, Florida next February.
Competing for a national championship is an exceptional experience the Sundancers look forward to every year.
“We love being a part of the Redhawk atmosphere but training and practicing for nationals is very special. We get the opportunity to compete amongst the nation’s best and everyone there has immense appreciation for the work put in,” said Parham.
The team has put in long hours practicing for the competition including practicing over 15 hours spring break. When it comes to the six week leading up to nationals the Sundancers practice just about every day putting a minimum 10 hours into their routine a week. When they are not practicing they are conditioning, finding every hour possible to prep for their performance.
“We were all dying to compete at least two weeks before the competition because we felt so prepared. We kept up our energy and felt the support from each other,” said junior captain Mary Inman.
The season is long for the dance team. Practices start in July, attending and performing at every football and basketball game and then the time to get serious for nationals comes.
“At school games we are there to entertain the crowd and support the team, but when we get to nationals we are the main event. It is so fun to be able to highlight our technique and competition elements into a dance,” said Inman.
A special attribute of being a Sundancer is being able to be involved in the university and community.
“The Sundancers are a fun and dedicated team. We want to share our love for SEMO and dance with the community,” said Inman.
Coach Parham had a few words to say about the memorious occasion and team, “I have never been more proud. Finding the words to describe the many, many emotions of this week has been tough, but overall I’m so impressed with this team and can’t wait to see what we do next year.”