You may have seen them at another team’s event, as they regularly perform during halftime at Brock basketball games. They may not be the most well-known team, but as of this year they are officially recognized as an athletic club under Brock Sports. The Dance Pak placed first overall earlier this month at the Rhythm Dance competition in Milton. Beating out York University and the University of Toronto, securing their first University Dance Challenge Championship.
The team competed in two earlier competitions this past month. The Strive Dance Challenge in Brampton and The Terpsichore Dance Challenge in Guelph. There were 11 group routines and multiple solo and duet performances; Brock placed in the top six at each event, competing against 27 other universities.
While they had an all-around great performance throughout the season, they saved their best performance for their last competition at Rhythm Dance. Each routine the Dance Pak performed at the competition finished top three in their dance category, beating out over 200 overall entries. The standout performance must go to third-year Natalie Tacuri, who won the top-scoring group of the entire competition, receiving a score of 96.84 for her Lyrical Choreography.
“She contributed tremendously to the Pak’s big win,” said head coaches Olivia Pilot and Ashley Hainer. “We have always acknowledged Natalie’s perseverance, love and care for her team and it was finally recognized on stage this weekend.”
This team has grown immensely since being recognized as an official athletic club by Brock Sports and they are just another addition the championship-calibre athletic program being run by the Brock Athletic Department right now. However, it all started with gaining popularity and reach through those halftime performances at marquee athletic events.
“Performing at half-time shows and at different athletic events are opportunities many dancers at other university’s (sic) do not have the chance to experience, and they truly are so much fun for the team,” said Pilot and Hainer.
“Having all of our dancers, choreographers, and us as coaches recognized by the university has been incredible. The Pak loves being apart of the We Are Ready movement and have taken pride in that since the very beginning.”
Some may fail to recognize what goes into competitive dance, and Pilot would like for everyone to know what the team does.
“Our team performs at several athletic events and competes at three university-wide competitions in various disciplines of dance,” said Pilot. “Each member on the team competes on a minimum of three groups. Dancers are selected by the coaches to compete on large groups and small groups. Training for our season begins following the audition in September to prepare for their competitions in March. The dancers train for up to 15 hours a week.”
Hainer and Pilot both danced on the team for four years as team captains, but now have transitioned into coaching roles and are having the times of their lives.
“We miss dancing on the team for sure, but our roles as coach’s, and having the ability to watch our team embody the same passion we do is more reward than any trophy could give,” said Pilot. “Finally being named University Dance Challenge Champion is a feeling that I cannot even put into words. My eyes instantly began filling with tears as I heard the announcer naming Brock Badgers Dance Pak the champions. I could not jump onto that stage fast enough to congratulate my team. Brock University had been the underdogs of the University Dance Challenge for years leading up to this moment. The incredible talent, dedication and devotion have finally paid off.”
However, as with any other team, the focus shifts quickly towards next year and looking to always get better.
“There is always room for improvement, and our team is extremely talented,” said second-year Logan Fabbro. “With practice, hard work, and dedication we could take our team to the next level for our upcoming season. I am excited to see how the team will grow together and as individuals next year, and years to come.”
If you would like to try out for the 2018/2019 Brock Dance Pak, follow them on social media and look our for auditions in early September.