Ballroom team dances with stars, wins competition

Congratulations to UVU's Ballroom Dance team, who won first place on TV's Dancing With The Stars.
Congratulations to UVU's Ballroom Dance team, who won first place on TV's Dancing With The Stars.

Last month, UVU experienced a brush with fame when the ballroom dance team won the Dancing with the Stars College Dance Championship. This was the first time the popular television show, which just finished its tenth season, included college teams in their competition.

The team had the chance to compete live on the show two weeks in a row in May, where they performed the cha-cha and the samba. Their cha-cha, which they danced on May 18, earned a score of 29 out of 30 from the show’s expert judges. This score was the highest given to any school on the show, and eight points higher than their competition that night, Rutgers University. It was a combination of this great score, plus call-in votes from students, family, and supporters that helped them advance to the finals of the competition.

The finals took place May 25, on the Dancing with the Stars season finale, where UVU defeated Perdue University with a beautiful and complex samba routine. This time, scores weren’t given and fans didn’t call in. The judges alone picked the winners. Judge Len Goodman excitedly announced, “As far as we’re concerned, you’re all winners.  But, we have to pick one… our winners are Utah Valley!”

Ballroom Dance Program director Scott Asbell said, “In the 20 years I have taught at UVU, this win on Dancing with the Stars brings me some of the greatest satisfaction because it’s representative of years of hard work from hundreds of dancers at our university.  These dancers didn’t just represent themselves tonight; they represented an entire program that has been built over time, and they did it on a national stage and performed very, very well.”

President Matthew R. Holland also praised the team, saying, “I can’t tell you how proud we are of our ballroom team. To perform in front of a live, nationwide television audience of 20 million plus, and to execute with such precision and artistry back to back, says so much about these dancers and this program.”

The team includes dancers Erica Armstrong, Leigh Asay, Nick Bloxsom-Carter, Hope Jackson, Trey Jackson, David Moon, Josh Murillo, McCall Tycksen, Trevor Vance and Alayne Wadsworth, who performed routines choreographed by Tara Boyd. The team is ranked second in the country by the National Dance Council of America.

After the Dancing with the Stars victory, the team headed straight to England to compet in the famous Blackpool Championship, which finished last Friday. Results were not available at time of publication, but UVU has already won the competition four times.

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