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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Road to Daytona- GU Dance

Claire Eaton
Claire Eaton showing off her dance skills.

April 5, 2024/Midnight

Erie, Pa, — GUCCD hosted the Road to Daytona Showcase at the Erie Sports Center this past Saturday, March 23. Teams like Point Park, Penn State Behrend, Edinboro, and Ohio State traveled to compete and perform as they prepare for the NCA and NDA Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida later this season.

Gannon Dance received a score of 69.4 against Point Park, winning with more than a 13-point lead in the Team Performance. Hip Hop went uncontested, still competing strongly and putting up a 65.25.

“At our Road to Daytona Showcase, we were focusing on cleanliness and execution while continuing to push our performance value. As a team, we strive to be one unit, but each individual has personal goals which I think were very visible this past weekend. We have really been pushing to tie up all our loose ends and get to where we want to be BEFORE we head to nationals. We are just a few short weeks out from the big event, and I think that is noticeable by what we have been laying on the floor, but we still have more goals to reach before we are satisfied with a final national’s routine” (Claire Eaton, Sophomore GU Dance).

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NCA and NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship set in Daytona Beach, Florida is the largest collegiate cheer and dance event in the country. Athletes from all over the country flock to Daytona to compete for a respective national title.

“NDA Nationals is what we work all year for. It is the one and only time we meet with all our competitors to debut the work we have been putting in. In Daytona Beach, we meet over 10,000 participants, 450 teams, and nearly 20,000 spectators. The atmosphere is astronomical, with the love of dance and cheer filling the venue, performing in the Ocean Center and on the Bandshell is an experience like no other” (Eaton).

The Golden Knights train throughout the year for nationals, with their spring “in-season” commitments reaching around 11 hours a week. These hours include strength and conditioning, watching films, and perfecting their routines. They also dance sideline at both the men’s and women’s basketball games on top of their local competitions in order to perform in front of crowds before hitting the national championship stage.

For Eaton, Dance has been a major part of her life and who she is as a person.

“Finding and becoming a part of GUCD has been one of the biggest blessings I didn’t know I needed! At the end of this season I will have been dancing for 19 years, it’s hard to put into words what dance means and all it has done for me, which is why I just dance! This program provides me with an endless supply of support and opportunities to continue my lifelong passion. I am sad to have two years already behind me at GUCD, but I cannot wait to see where this program will be in the next two” (Eaton).

However, the NCAA does not recognize dance or cheer as sanctioned sports. This is why the national championship is under NCA/ NDA or UCA/UDA instead of the typical NCAA title.

“-Why many people don’t consider competitive dance a sport is that the judging systems are subjective. Unlike gymnastics or ice skating, dancing judging systems do not require specific moves to be incorporated into routines in order to qualify or win” (Queen City Dance).

“Research states dance doesn’t fit the definition of a sport, that it is too subjective, or that there is too much emotion, passion, and artistry involved. Isn’t that what a coach wants to see in an athlete’s game performance? I guess dancers will just have to continue to push athletic and artistic boundaries but, in the meantime, we want to thank Gannon University for recognizing our dedication to this sport, supporting our ideas and performances, and understanding that dance is more to us than just a sport, it’s an art” (Eaton).

The Golden Knights impressed last season at Daytona with the Hip Hop team advancing to the finals. The team performance did not advance to the finals last season, missing by 0.25. The Hip Hop team finished with a score of 87.2286 landing in fifth place.

The Golden Knights have one final performance at RIT in Rochester, New York on Saturday, March 30 before heading off to Daytona Beach. The NCA and NDA National Championship starts Wednesday, April 10, and concludes Sunday, April 14.

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About the Contributor
Megan Revell
Megan Revell, Sports Editor
Megan Revell is a junior on the acrobatics and tumbling team here at Gannon University. She is majoring in communications journalism. Megan is from Tri Cities Washington, and she loves to travel, tumble and learn new skills! Last semester she was a contributing student writer and is so excited to represent sports in The Gannon Knight this semester!  

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