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The Dance to Nationals

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UMD Dance Team Aims for First

The 2012 UMD Dance Team
Come support the Dance team at their annual Dance Show, Saturday, March 31 at 2 pm in the Romano Gym. Tickets will be sold at the door, $7 for adults, $5 for students, and $3 for UMD students with a Ucard.
As each dancer on the UMD dance team warms up for rehearsal, they all have one thing on their mind: nationals. The dancers intensely prepare for the annual performance in Florida in order to top last year’s second-place finish in the National Dance Association competition. But before Florida, there is plenty of dancing to do.

Jill Kadrlik, a senior communication student and co-captain of the team, looks forward to the upcoming engagement, but not without remembering the bitter challenge they faced in 2011.

The UMD Dance club is not associated with UMD intercollegiate athletics, so supplies for competing and other necessities like an athletic trainer are forgone, due to the limit of mostly self-generated funds. Private fundraisers generate the majority of the team’s budget, and the rest is provided by the girls themselves. Last year, the team nearly didn't raise enough money for their Florida showdown.

“We didn’t think we would get to go and at the eleventh hour we received an anonymous donation. When I found out, I cried on the spot,” said Kadrlik.

The ladies took second-place overall at the 2011 competition, the highest UMD had ever achieved. But even with a fantastic finish in second last year, the contest has left them hungrier than ever for the first-place title.

Kadrlik said, “Everyone wants the same thing, we want to do well at Nationals . . . we want to win and every girl knows that.”

Despite precarious funding, the dancers practice for performances and nationals throughout the year. Without the aid of a coach, they run their own rehearsals and coordinate events. Two captains are elected each year, and they share the responsibility of guiding the group. This year, Niki Johnson, a junior community health education student, and Kadrlik take the lead. The 23 students unite drilling to achieve performer’s perfection four days a week, keeping in mind that their rivals are likely doing the same.

The other days of the week are divided between school, fundraisers, and community performances. Football games and pep rallies are only the beginning; last year the dancers performed at the Duluth East High School, Central High School, St. Benedict’s dance shows, the St. Thomas Dance Team Invitational, the American Heart Association Heart Walk, and Dance for a Cure. This year, they continue to perform and strive to involve themselves in the community.

The competitive world of dance is intense and the day-to-day battle for improvement is not only physical but mental, a challenge that each of the dancers chooses to face head-on. Each dancer’s love for the sport is what keeps her moving and what fuels her competitive drive.

The UMD Dance Team will be holding fundraisers and performing throughout the spring. For more information on upcoming events or how to support the team, visit their website at or contact Jill Kadrlik at

The UMD Dance team at the 2011 Best of the Best dance show hosted by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities


Written by Jessica Coffin, March 2012

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