You’ve probably seen them in action at Ichabod basketball games and during homecoming activities, but did you know that the Washburn University Dancing Blues are two-time national champions?
Last month, the squad traveled to the University of Northern Texas, as they do almost every Spring, for the American Dance/ Drill Team National Championships. One of 33 colleges in the competition, the Dancing Blues took first place with a score of 292 out of a possible 300. Scoring at the competition is divided into three categories – choreography, presentation and execution with scores determined by a panel of three judges. The team danced all over their competitors, earning individual scores of 99, 97 and 96 from the judges.
“I would say everyone was pretty excited,” said coach Angie Price of the victory. “This Dancing Blues team really worked together and they were willing to put aside what they wanted for themselves and do what was best for the team as a whole. I think that really helped us excel. Not only at Nationals, but through the entire season. That attitude really helped us at the competition.”
In her 26th year as head coach of the Dancing Blues, Price, who also serves as an adjunct Kinesiology professor, has become one of the winningest coaches at Washburn, earning her first national championship at the same competition in 2013. Of the current Dancing Blues, co-captain Monica Conaway, Lexi Lemons and Madison Williams were members of that team.
For this year’s competition, the team, which was selected in April of last year, began rehearsing their winning routine in June. To help with choreography, Price enlisted the help of famed choreographer Mandy Borgelt, who once served as the coach of KU’s Rock Chalk Dancers.
Thirteen of the sixteen member squad traveled to Texas for the competition last month, where the Dancing Blues strutted their stuff in a two-minute routine set to the tune of “Sweet Disposition” by Australian indie-pop act The Temper Trap.
The Dancing Blues first took this routine to competition in July of last year, only a month after rehearsals began, at the Universal Dance Association Camp and Competition in July at Missouri State University. Despite the limited amount of preparation time, the Dancing Blues took second place.
“If you could see the performance then compared to the performance now, there’s a huge difference,” Price said. “I think that’s a testament to how hard they worked this season.”
When not tripping the light fantastic, the squad spends time giving back to their community. Their most recent act of altruism was to adopt Emerson Selk, the older sister of Karis Selk, the seven-year-old cancer patient who was named an honorary member of Washburn’s volleyball and women’s basketball team.
The team named Emerson an honorary member of the Dancing Blues and let her in on some sideline action during a home basketball game.
“She really enjoyed that. I saw her the next day and she told me how much she loved it,” said Conaway.
The team also made Emerson a part of a longtime Dancing Blues tradition.
“We have a tradition where we pass on a teddy bear to a member of the team. This year we passed it on to her instead of a team member because we felt like giving it to her meant more,” Conaway said.
Tryouts for next season’s squad will be held on April 26. Those interested in being a part of Washburn’s Dancing Blues can email [email protected]burn.edu for more details.
Editor’s Note – The original posting of this article erroneously named the Dancing Blues coach as Angie Smith. The article has been revised with her correct name Angie Price. Our apologies to Coach Price for the error.