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UDA Nationals: The Battle of the Sisters

Take a look into UDA Nationals and the big rivalry.

UDA college dance team nationals were held January 12th – 14th of 2024, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  It’s safe to say the show was nothing short of revolutionary. UDA is short for the Universal Dance Association, but by dancers around the nation, it is known as the Super Bowl of dance. 

Every year there are many talented teams that are competing for a National Title, but historically there are two teams that draw the attention of viewers. Minnesota and Ohio State have a rivalry to watch each season. 

Their rivalry is fueled by many different factors, but one of the main reasons the teams love to go head-to-head has to do with their first-year members. First years or rookies mean new talent and new opportunities to achieve the coveted first-place trophy. 

This was a big year for dance fans regarding the rookies on each team. Maesi Caes, a dancer from Altoona, Iowa, made the Minnesota Dance Team. It was very exciting to see her be so successful in the dance industry as someone from Iowa. 

The Wagner Sisters with their parents.

Another large topic of discussion about the rookies is Ava Wagner who also made the Minnesota Dance Team. It was a big deal for dance fans because her sister, Ellie Wagner, is on Ohio State’s Dance Team. People have been calling them the girl version of the famous sibling football duo, Jason and Travis Kelce.

The Wagner sisters have been on the show, World Of Dance, and came in third place. Both are very talented dancers who have won many national awards and are very well-known within the dance world. 

The reason so many people enjoy watching UDA is because of the talent that all of the teams offer to viewers each year.

For the 2023 season, both Minnesota and Ohio State brought jazz routines to the table that exceeded the expectations. Minnesota with a technical and intriguing routine while Ohio State’s was emotional and had an immense impact on their audience.

At UDA, jazz routines are characterized by the flowy yet hard-hitting movements with more intense emotion in comparison to a hip-hop or pom number.

In the jazz category Ohio State took the crown with their routine choreographed to Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Minnesota ended with second place for their jazz choreographed to Aerosmith’s famous Dream On. The dance was a tribute to the twentieth anniversary of the original routine to Dream On, which won Minnesota the national championship back in 2004.

As amazing as Minnesota and Ohio State’s routines were, there was another school that captivated their audience with their strongest suit, hip hop. Louisiana State University achieved a first-place finish with their hip hop choreographed to Michael Jackson’s hit single, Smooth Criminal.

The LSU Tiger Girls took the nation by storm back in 2022 with their hip-hop routine titled “Like a Boy” to Ciara’s Like a Boy. The routine was intended to send a message to the people who often overlook women in sports or try to compare them to male athletes.

There are so many talented teams that compete at UDA National every year. This season didn’t disappoint.

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About the Contributors
Stella DeLong
Stella DeLong, Feature Editor
Stella DeLong is a Senior at MHS. This is her second year on the Newspaper team. She enjoys dancing, teaching dance, music, and spending time with friends and family.
Hadley Hines
Hadley Hines, Writer
Hadley is a first-year member of The Auroran Today and is very excited for the year. In her free time, you will catch her dancing as a varsity member of the MHS Dance Team, and as a competitive dancer at River City All-Stars!
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