“Dance team stomps competition in Nationals” – an article from the WSN published 7 years ago!

We thought it fitting to write a tribute post to some DT alum (that we’ve never even met!) who took over Daytona Beach, FL. back in 2002 when they WON the NDA Collegiate Championship for the first and only time in NYUDT history (… well, the only time thus far). 😉

We are on a FOREVER-quest to find the mysterious video that shows the 2002 winning Nationals routine, but we have yet to get our hands on it!  We were, however, able to dig up some old articles documenting NYU’s awesome, yet scandalous (that’s right – just wait, we’ll tell you about it), win from the Washington Square News (WSN).  This article was written by Anamika Chakrabarty (thanks for writing about us back then!), and WSN claims it was published on January 1, 1997 (though we all know that’s a hoot, because we didn’t even win till April 2002, but whatev’s).  Check it out!

(Imagine you’re reading this right out of the May ’02 issue of the WSN… and please take note of Anamika’s unique interpretation of one of our dance styles, “pom.” ha)

Dance team stomps competition in Nationals

01

Ok, ok.. So we couldn't find a photo of the '01-'02 Team, but blog posts look prettier with pictures, so here's the '03-'04 NYU Dance Team. Woo.

The NYU Purple and White Dance team carried a national championship trophy home to New York last weekend after taking its act to Daytona Beach, Fla. to compete in the National Dance Alliance (NDA) National Championships.

Accustomed to performing much of the year in front of near empty stands at Coles Sports Center, the Violet dancers avenged its fifth-place finish last year with a stunning showing all weekend, winning the title by a large margin of 0.5 points.

The Violet dancers ended the preliminary competition on Thursday in first place out of all 26 teams and kept that momentum going into Friday, as they defeated the University of Central Oklahoma for the title.

“We really wanted it,” senior co-Captain Carolyn Comparato said. “We were excited and had worked so hard. Especially as seniors, we wanted to go out with a bang.”

Performing a self-choreographed “New York, New York” theme, the dancers wore pleather pants and black halter tops with silver and red sequins spelling out “I [heart] NY.” The music for the 2-minute-13-second performance began and ended with Frank Sinatra, then moved into music with harder bass and beats in between, including Brooklyn Bounce, the Notorious B.I.G. and Propeller Heads.

“Initially we had a hard time capturing it,” senior co-Captain Wendy Garofoli said, in reference to the theme. “We didn’t want to make it look like we were capitalizing on the tragedy, but we all felt such a connection to the city. It was a nice way to make our own little tribute.”

The team’s journey began way back in August as it attended a summer camp in Myrtle Beach, S.C. During this four-day camp, the Violets danced for almost 11 hours a day and learned five different routines. Out of those five, one was designated to be their performance routine, which, if done well, would earn the team a bid to nationals. The team succeeded and was given the NDA bid. From then on, the girls focused on their April national competition.

“We spent four hours a day practicing over spring break and came back early from winter break as well. The team deserves this so much,” Comparato said.

The team practices four days a week, for approximately three hours a day. The dancers are also encouraged to go to the gym on their own and take any kind of outside dance classes. This intense workout schedule is representative of their dedication.

“We don’t have to do this,” Comparato said. “We do it because we love it, and I think that was really evident this year.”

The competition is broken down into three divisions based on the size of the school’s sports program: IA, I and II. Competing in Division II, the girls had high hopes.

“After missing third place by .01 last year, I thought this was going to be our year,” Comparato said. “I feel this was the best team ever. We only had four new girls and everyone adjusted well and worked hard.”

They were excited and anxious going into the competition, but after their first-place finish in the preliminaries, nervousness struck.

“It really didn’t sink in,” Garofoli said. “People kept telling us not to get cocky, but we weren’t cocky at all. In fact we got nervous. We’re so used to pulling ourselves up, it was weird to have to maintain our score.”

But they did just fine, winning first place by a large margin. The judging is out of 10 points, based on three major categories: palm, jazz and hip-hop.

Palm entails strong, sharp arm movements, jazz includes leaps and jumps, and hip-hop is funk. Higher scores are based on harder elements done correctly, formation, energy and completion of moves.

“No performance is ever perfect,” Comparato said. “But I feel like we peaked at nationals. We’ve never done better. It was a great routine.”

The team is still very shocked about the results.

“I don’t think anything hit until Saturday night when we returned to New York with this huge trophy,” Garofoli said. “It’s very surreal, but we’re incredibly excited.”

“We definitely deserved it,” she said.

So, once again, CONGRATS to those talented ladies! We WILL one day find that Nationals video, but we think NYU’s hidden it in the deepest recesses of Coles, or worse, burned it.  Why? Because during finals, one of our dancers’ halter tops broke 15 seconds into the routine –  in front of hundreds of spectators watching the competition AND on National TV!  Talk about your worst nightmare coming true in the most important moment of your DT life.  AND if you’re ever been a dancer, you know the golden rule of performing: You keep going no matter what.  So when our poor NYUDT’er did not fix her top and, instead, kept dancing, let’s just say, NYUDT got bashed. Check THIS out!

The SCANDAL associated with the NYU Dance Team Nationals win of 2002

Although the NYU Purple and White Dance Team won the National Championship by the large margin of 0.5, its stunning outcome was overshadowed by a shocking incident when dancer Carla Sanchez, lost her halter top for two minutes of the team’s final performance.

However, it does not seem that everyone, including NYU administration, saw the incident as a harmless accident. In fact, the dance team was accused of purposely staging the incident to win.

“I was appalled by people’s reaction,” senior co-Captain Wendy Garofoli said. “We were very disappointed and hurt that they would think it was done on purpose.”

Among those that questioned the team’s motives was the administration of the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center.

“We had to meet with them about intent,” Garofoli said. “And the athletic director never even offered us congratulations. After all we had done, that was very upsetting.”

Sanchez, understandably, was even more disturbed by the alleged second-guessing.

“It hurt me because it was something I was conflicted about morally, and people thought we were the type of people who would do something like that to win,” she said. “We worked so hard to prove ourselves as a valuable team to our school and to administration, and not just a bunch of dumb girls.”

The Purple and White Dance team does not receive funding from NYU. That means their expenses, including costumes and choreography, must all be self-generated.

“If we’re trying to bring glory to our school, I don’t understand why [Coles was] bringing us down,” Sanchez said.

This was not the impression Jeff Bernstein, assistant director for Sports Information at Coles, received.

“If someone is not happy for some reason, I honestly know nothing about it,” he said. “I even wrote a press release. We were very excited about it.”

Regardless of what people think, all the girls on the dance team believe that the dancer did the right thing by continuing to dance.

“We’re trained to keep going,” Garofoli said. “Through injuries or accidents, our main goal is to finish the dance, otherwise deductions can be made.”

Though the head judge later informed the team that a deduction would not have taken place because of the extreme situation, all the girls support their teammate.

“Unless you’re a performer or someone who has been a part of dance culture, [it’s hard to understand],” Sanchez, a junior in the College of Arts and Science, said. “You are always taught to keep dancing no matter what happen[s]. I just tried not to look at myself and imagined the audience naked.”

The halter-top, created with a built-in bra came unsnapped and slowly slipped down to her waist, leaving Sanchez with nothing covering herself as she continued the show bare-breasted. However, with great courage, the dancer failed to miss a beat and continued dancing with the same intensity as everyone else.

“It must have been so embarrassing,” Garofoli said. “I don’t know what I would have done, but I hope that I would have had as much courage as her to keep dancing.”

The worst part came at the end of the show, when for the last 30 to 40 seconds she was front and center.

“We were kind of worried after we found out what had happened,” Garofoli said. “But luckily the judges saw past that and it did not affect our score. We were judged solely on our dancing ability, and we totally nailed the performance.”

“We were up by a huge margin. I could have probably adjusted my top and still won, but you don’t think about that at the moment,” Sanchez said. “I was thinking about my team. It wasn’t even a split-second decision.”

Can you believe that!? NYUDT has since plastered ourselves in glove-like, full-body suits for Nationals (ha).

We're the ones in orange.

Nationals 2007 (we're the ones in orange)

We never want the general public, NDA, or, most importantly, NYU to be looking at our team for the wrong reasons, and when we storm Daytona this year, we plan to dazzle the right way. 🙂

9 days till Info Session! Very excited to see all of our auditionees for the ’09-’10 season in one room! Hope you enjoyed the NYUDT history post.  xoxo, NYUDT

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3 Responses to ““Dance team stomps competition in Nationals” – an article from the WSN published 7 years ago!”

  1. Krystal Says:

    I’ve seen the video. It’s terrifying! It will NEVER happen again!!!

  2. missy Says:

    Yes it was unfortunate that Carla’s top broke but it was the routine was amazing!!!

  3. nyudanceteam Says:

    This is amazing!!!!!!!!!! I hope we make you ladies proud with our routine this year–it’s no wonder you guys won– this is fantastic!!!

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