The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School


The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School


The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School


UDA Nationals 2024: A Review


As a non-dancer, my fascination with a dance competition may seem weird to others. The annual national event hosted by the Universal Dance Association (UDA) is my favorite way to start each new year. This competition created a new wave of college dancing and initially grabbed my attention in 2022 when the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tiger Girls performed their iconic “Like a Boy” dance. Ever since that year, I have been hooked. This year, many of the schools stepped up their choreography and overall performance level. Still, I am here to discuss the four dances that altered my brain chemistry: LSU hip-hop, University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) hip-hop, Minnesota jazz and Ohio State Jazz.

The Ohio State University Jazz (OSU)- National Champions

My initial attention when I saw this routine was drawn to the uniqueness of their costumes with the ties and business casual attire. Even after seeing these costumes, nothing could have prepared me for how they would use their clothes as props. During the routine, when their dancers looped the tie around their feet as they straightened their legs to a degree, I did not think it was humanly possible. Not to mention the moment when all of the girls collectively slam their ties into the ground, it was, to say the least, a beautiful way of incorporating emotion into a dance routine. Second of all, song choice is so integral to a good routine and is something that many schools nailed this year. However, the OSU decision to use “My Way” was ingenious. The perfect combination of slow enough for jazz but peppy enough to tell a story was great overall. Out of all the intricate layering of this dance, the one thing that had my jaw on the floor was their turns. Shocked. The only thing I did not like about this dance was the aggressive clapping at the end which sent me into a bit of a panic. However, the uniformity, synchronized moves and grace were beautiful and left me in awe. That said, it is understandable that they took home the gold. 


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The University of Minnesota Jazz- National Runner-Ups

If anyone asks me how many times I have watched this performance, I plead the fifth. “Dream On” is such a captivating song, so when it clicked that this was the song Minnesota was dancing to, I was over the moon. I feel as though the unconventional song choice for a jazz routine encouraged the dancers to electrify in every aspect of this dance. Right off the bat, the standout dancer here is the only male: Matthew Greco. His turn sequence is a work of art, his technique is precise and his overall delivery of each individual step is moving. However, it wasn’t just his performance alone that hooked me on this dance. The uniformity and synchronization this team has is unparalleled. Each leap, each turn, each handspring in sync down to the millisecond. This is mostly clearly seen in their turn sequence which seamlessly transitions into the aerial. To say this is a masterpiece would be an understatement. Even to a non-dancer such as myself, it was not lost on me the control and strength this move requires. My jaw was on the floor. Then, to follow up on this peak in performance, one of their dancers (whose name is unknown to me) hit the most majestic jump of all time, leading to a tear leaving my right eye. This was just one of the “small” bits and pieces that brought this dance to life. That said, I feel fairly passionately that the 2024 Minnesota dance team should have brought home gold for the jazz division. Go Gophers!


The University of Nevada Las Vegas Hip Hop- National Runner-Ups

As a clear lover of good song choice, I naturally must first mention the iconic nature of this song. I mean Michael Buble at UDA is the highlight of my year. I have loved UNLV hip-hop for the past few years because of their ability and tendency to hit every little beat. The attention to detail in this routine is truly impeccable, and the edit of “Feeling Good” allowed them to execute a sharp routine. Another aspect of this team that allows them to thrive is their use of male dancers. Their ability to flip and move their bodies was a major contribution to this dance as a whole. One of these moments was the slowed-down body roll during the “birds flying high” which was so pleasing and smooth to watch. This same reaction was achieved for me when the dancers were scooting and sliding on the floor (in an athletic way). It was genuinely so pleasing to watch and was executed perfectly. Immediately following this portion of the dance they did a sequence and then reversed it flawlessly. This was an aspect of the dance I had initially missed, so when I realized it on a second or third rewatch, I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, I don’t think there is a flaw in this dance, and had it not been for LSU’s superb performance this year I think UNLV could have taken home the gold.


The University of Minnesota Hip-Hop- National Champions

10/10. Perfect. Beautiful. Moving. If it isn’t clear already, this dance completely captivated me. LSU hip-hop is an absolute powerhouse. They own this division. Every year they give us a life-changing performance, but this year was something else. The idea to do a Michael Jackson tribute was ingenious. Not to mention their choreographers, Tribe 99, who were able to make a dance so simple and clean yet perfectly chaotic. The initial reaction here is how seamless their uniforms are with the white vests and pants with the black contrast. This look allowed them to increase the focus on their fine movements and was completely captivating. The control they have over their bodies is completely breathtaking, and their talents are beautifully demonstrated in each step. Specifically, the “hee-hee” line and smooth criminal slowed-down sequence changed my life. There wasn’t a single part of this performance that wasn’t well thought out and even better executed. In my opinion, this dance shows the epitome of athleticism and strength all these dancers possess. I think the Tiger Girls put respect on their name and brought such deserving attention to all UDA teams and their dancers. It is because of the compelling nature of this dance that I am in complete agreement with LSU taking home the gold, and I cannot wait until next year.

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Anna Sandage
Anna Sandage, Social Media Editor

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