UD club dance team wins hip-hop competition

The club dance team at Dance, Stomp, Shake Feb. 19. Photo courtesy of Shelby LaMattina.

Zoë Hill Print Editor-in-Chief

University of Dayton’s club dance team are now hip-hop champions and they’re looking to dance their way into even more opportunities on and off campus. 

The team traveled to Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio for the annual Dance, Stomp, Shake hip-hop dance show and competition Feb. 19. Competing against several other college dance teams in front of a sold out crowd, the Flyers came out on top. 

The competition at Dance, Stomp, Shake was much smaller last year, according to past club President Kendra Ruffner. The team competed in their first competition ever last year, and won second place. 

“We got second place [last year], which was huge because we had never competed before, and we didn’t know what we were doing,” Ruffner said. “And then we had the honor of being invited again and we went back last weekend.” 

She said all of the team’s opportunities come from proving themselves in front of a crowd. 

“We love doing this, like please give us more opportunity,” Ruffner said. “So it’s not given to us; It’s rather like we fight for it.”

The team landed the opportunity to compete in Dance, Stomp, Shake after performing at a UD basketball game. 

“Someone who works within the university saw us and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, these girls are really good. I know of this competition opportunity,’” Ruffner said. “So she gave our name to them and was like, ‘Hey, I think you should consider adding the UD dance team to your competition; I just watched when they were great.’”

A few times a season, the team gets to perform a routine at UD men’s and women’s basketball games, but they also perform around campus and wherever they can. Current club President Shelby LaMattina said the team is always looking for opportunities to perform. She’s currently working on getting the team to perform at UD football games in the fall and participating in campus events like One Day, One Dayton. 

The team mostly performs hip-hop, but during their twice-a-week practices, they sometimes do jazz or contemporary dance for both fun and to work on form, LaMattina said. With football season coming up next semester, the team is working on implementing pom— a dance style using cheerleading motions— into their routines. 

On the topic of cheerleading, the UD club dance team is hosting the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders for a clinic Sunday. 

“They’re going to basically jumpstart this little pom that we’re going to start because they’re gonna teach us a routine,” LaMattina said. “And so that would be like the first time that a lot of our dancers actually start to do pom.”

“We’re not only getting that dance team advice [from the Colts squad], but we’re also getting professional advice if anyone is interested in doing this after college,” Ruffner added. 

Both Ruffner and LaMattina have been dancing their whole lives, but going into college, they were looking for two very different things. 

Ruffner wanted a more relaxed dance program and strayed away from looking in Division I dance schools. LaMattina sought out a D1 experience but ultimately landed at UD. Both of them agree the atmosphere surrounding UD’s club dance team is the right fit for them. 

“I’ve always said that’s one of my favorite things about the team; I do get to be involved with 100 other things. I do what I love in college with that relaxed environment,” Ruffner said. “Also being student led is huge. We have the power to make these changes and act in a way that we know is best.”

The club dance team hosts auditions in the early fall, but Ruffner said they have to be fairly selective because so many people audition. 

“We always get a huge turnout which is incredible,” Ruffner said. “But just due to funding and the performances, we unfortunately have to keep the team pretty small, between 18 and 22 people.”

If you are interested in learning more about the UD club dance team and how to audition for the next school year, follow the team @udaytondanceteam on Instagram or email them at uddanceteam@udayton.edu

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