Dixie State University’s dance team, the Dixie Blaze, competed at the 2022 USA Collegiate Championships in Anaheim, California, and placed second.
This is the first time Dixie Blaze has represented DSU at a national tournament. The team made themselves well known and proved their skill against teams across the nation.
Head Coach Kori Esplin said the team has been practicing for this moment since the beginning of the season in July 2021.
“It starts with tryouts, dancers should have the caliber, tricks and skills that are required to be on a collegiate level and competitive dance team,” Esplin said. For the past few years, there have been over 100 dancers trying out for 20 spots on the team.
After tryouts, hours and hours of practicing go into preparing for different performances. Ultimately this prepared the team for nationals.
“We worked for eight months, thousands of hours practicing, to get us to where we are,” Esplin said. “That’s truly what it took to master our skills and tricks to compete at the higher level.”
Gentrie Andersen, a freshman pre-dental hygiene major from Lehi, said all of the work the team did to prepare helped them to become confident in their routine.
“We were confident and excited, we did the routine the best we have ever done,” Andersen said. “We all felt so proud of each other.”
The team had a great amount of support and motivation to do the best they could. They had support from their friends, families and ultimately their own teammates.
“Our goal was to have no regrets and leave everything on the floor and to have fun,” Andersen said.
Natalie Riggs, a freshman dance major from Orem, said the teams’ confidence surely helped them with the energy in their performance.
“For our first time competing, we did amazing,” Riggs said. “It felt so good to be the first team from DSU.”
Riggs said their goals were based on their confidence and energy since the moment they stepped on the floor.
“We achieved that goal, we were all exhausted after dancing but again it felt so good,” Riggs said.
This is not the end for the Dixie Blaze as they plan to improve more for next year. “It’s a very high chance to see us compete again next year,” Riggs said.
“We’ve grown so much from this experience, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t,” Riggs said.
The team is not done performing yet. They will finish their season with their showcase, where they will perform all of the routines throughout the year including the nationals routine on March 11.