Dance team returns to West Haven after claiming national rankings


Photo courtesy of @unewhavendanceteam on Instagram.

The dance team after awards at the College Classic National Championship, April 9, 2023.

Earlier in the semester, the University New Haven Dance Team traveled to Wayne, N.J. to compete at the Dance Team Union competition, their first collegiate-level competition. After taking home a couple of regional titles, the team did not wait to get back to work before continuing to put many hours into rehearsal to prepare for the College Classic National Championship. Earlier this month, the team managed to place themselves on the national map in both division II pom and jazz.

Coach Ashley McCain spoke on how the intensity of practices kicked up this semester. Her dancers highlighted this in reflection of the season. “Practice in both the fall and spring semester challenged our team in many ways,” said Sage Sarrazin, a sophomore studying forensic psychology. “Fall semester we mainly focused on learning and really memorizing the choreography. During the spring semester we worked extremely hard to work through the dance movement by movement to look like a true unison dance team.”

Sarrazin said additional competition practices ranged from four to six hours. “It was an adjustment for all the girls on the team, but we all collectively worked together to switch our work shifts and cancel plans when we needed to be there for our team.”

On Wednesday, April 5, the New Haven Dance team headed down to Orlando to compete at the College Classic. Once the team arrived, they had practices and classes before taking the stage. McCain said, “we worked even harder in Florida and were so inspired by the other teams that we were able to see [them] perform.”

McCain explained that the team members had to trust one another during this process. “The bond they have with each other is more important than any dance technique,” she said. “The athletes need to build each other up, support one another and ultimately be each other’s biggest cheerleaders.”

“Since my freshman year in 2019, we had talked about the possibility of competing as a team, but with obstacles such as COVID, this was a difficult goal to reach,” Lauryn Bonanno, a senior criminal justice major, said. “Through this experience I have learned the valuable lesson that hard work and dedication will allow you to achieve your goals.”

Olivia Sisk, a senior criminal justice major and one of the dance team’s captains, said competing at this national competition was her greatest accomplishment. She said, “Four years ago, I never thought I would be able to go to competition, I never even knew what a dance team competition was like, I had only ever done studio dance.” Sisk was grateful for the experience during her final year of college with the best team.

After long rehearsals and months of practice the New Haven Dance Team showed how much their hard work paid off by placing second in D2 pom and seventh in D2 jazz. This was a great accomplishment for the dance team and a memorable moment for the graduating seniors.