Students may know the Orange Pride Dance Team from their performances at the football and basketball games and their participation with Student Activities.
However, they do much more than that.
At the end of their season, they go to the National Dance Alliance (NDA) College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Orange Pride dance team works year-round to compete with the best teams across the nation.
They work on their dances for months before taking them to Nationals.
In 2020, Nationals were taken away from them because of COVID-19. That only gave them more motivation to bounce back better than ever the following year.
“It’s the one thing that you look forward to when joining a college dance team,” captain Ashlynn White said. “Whenever we went in 2021, we double titled and that feeling was amazing, so for 2022 we definitely want to try and have that feeling again.”
Orange Pride is known for taking their beautiful jazz dances and powerful, hard hitting team dances.
“The most important thing I have learned throughout the nationals process would be how mentally tough you have to be,” team member Davin Watt said. “Dance is just like any other sport and any other College National Championship because the preparation is difficult and can take a toll on you but, you must learn to keep pushing. The end goal is the most important thing,”
One thing that Orange Pride goes before nationals is a huge countdown.
Students may see it on their Instagram stories where they rip a number down after each practice.
People can even see how long the process is before going to nationals.
“Being on the nationals mat is such a surreal experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” team member Jessica Schmitt said. “It is the best thing when we can work hard as a team, not just as one.”