UCA’s dance team, better known as the Honeybears, attended the 2020 UDA (Universal Dance Association) Nationals in Orlando, Florida Jan. 17-19. While they did not advance to finals, the team received superior excellence awards from the competition.
New coach UCA alumna Lauren Goodman said that this was a learning year for them because UCA has only attended UDA nationals for two years.
“We compete at nationals every year. The UCA Dance Team used to compete at NDA [National Dance Alliance] in Daytona, but last year was the first year they switched to UDA,” Goodman said.
The Honeybears competed in two categories, neither of which they have ever competed in before this year — Hip-Hop and Game Day.
“Hip hop is a routine where the girls have to stay grounded into the floor and move. They have to be low and exert a ton of energy through all their movements,” Goodman said. “As for Game-Day, the girls have three minutes to be given 3 different game cues that are related to either a basketball game or a football game.”
An example of game cues are things that are announced during a game. When the dancers hear, “That’s a touchdown for UCA,” they perform their fight song routine. When they hear, “That puts the Bears on D, come on Bear fans get on your feet,” the team moves into a chant and after the chant, goes straight into a band dance. Lastly, when “UCA has called a timeout” is announced, the team performs a 30 second routine in order to represent their half-time performances.
For Hip-Hop, 16 girls competed, in accordance with competition rules, and for Game-Day, everyone participated.
Freshman Myra Owens said the experience was, in a word, rewarding.
“We were dancing with some amazing reams and met some great girls, and we already looking forward to next year,” Owens said.
Each year before nationals, the team hosts a send-off. This year, it was held in the Farris Center on Jan. 11.
“Our send-off was very successful this year. We had so many parents, family, friends, and our UCA sports family who came to support the girls. We also had three surrounding studios who came to perform between the girls performances so they could change into their other costume,” Goodman said.
The spring semester is practice-heavy for the Honeybears because it is technically their off-season.
“We change our practices from four days a week to twice a week. During these times we work on dances for basketball and work on technique to get prepared for tryouts and next year’s team,” Goodman said.
The dance team does not have any more competitions this year, but the Cheer team will compete at the NCA Nationals in Daytona, Florida in April.