YourSports: UMD dance team wins second consecutive national championship.
The Minnesota Duluth dance team was in second after its preliminary routine at the National Dance Association Division II national championships April 10-11 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Captain Nikki Johnson said the judges had trouble identifying the transition between the pom and jazz portions of their routine, so the Bulldogs went to a parking lot to practice and rework the choreography of the routine for the final performance the next day. The team practiced well into the night and was up again at 4 a.m. to get ready for the final performance, where the Bulldogs overtook first-day leader Central Oklahoma to win their second consecutive national championship. Fortunately for the UMD dance team, busy nights and early mornings are part of the normal routine. The team practices from 8-11 p.m. four nights a week at UMD, and the dancers are required to participate in two additional 90-minute small-group workouts each week. Co-captain Kali Bernloehr said that many days she is on campus from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. for class, workouts or practice, as well as studying and homework. Bernloehr and Johnson said that many of the team members are on campus even earlier because of classes and workout schedules. In addition to their demanding daily schedule, the dancers spend much of their free time at team fundraisers, performing at all UMD home football games or volunteering around Duluth. As a club team, the UMD dance team receives $1,200 in funding from the university, but the yearly budget is $25,000, including $16,000 for the entry fees for the national competition, travel to and from Daytona and the hotel. The team’s website says its goal is to earn enough money each year to cover all costs, but the team usually comes up a bit short. The team holds a dance show each year at UMD to raise money, as well as hosting bowling and golf fundraisers. The team’s volunteer efforts have included helping set up Bentleyville in Bayfront Park and helping to rebuild the fox habitat at the Lake Superior Zoo that was damaged in the 2012 flood.