On March 12, the U of T competitive dance team won the Be U Varsity Challenge dance competition, capping their season off with three back-to-back wins at major dance competitions. Over the previous two weekends, the Blues dance team also won the University Dance Challenge at Guelph and the Strive Dance Challenge.
Their three-peat is monumental, given that it’s the first time it has been done in program history. The Varsity sat down with the co-captain of the Varsity Blues dance team, Selina Tong, a fifth-year engineering major, to discuss what it took to dominate the dance competitions three times in a row.
“I think our team was more ready than we ever have been before,” Tong said when asked about the lead up to the competitions. “It was a surreal experience.”
When taking a deeper look into their season, it becomes evident that the tenacious work ethic of Tong and her fellow co-captains was the main reason why the team did so well this year. They changed up their whole training routine.
One of the ways they did this was by hosting a showcase event at the Hart House Theatre before the competitions took place. This allowed the dancers to perform in front of a real audience with low stakes while still being able to put on their makeup and costumes and kill it.
On top of that, the team ran a technique class throughout the year. In previous years, a majority of the practices were dedicated to choreography, with little focus on technical aspects. This finally changed. “You’re practising kicks, you’re practising your turns, you’re practising your flexibility,” Tong said. The team also won the technique award at the Be U competition, which Tong says was probably due to the technique classes.
Lastly, Tong said that the team was a well-oiled machine this year and the dancers were closer than ever before. Anonymous monthly surveys, socials, and constant communication made dancers feel like they were valued on the team.
What’s next for the dancers? Other than the fact that their two trophies will be displayed in the Athletic Centre trophy case, Tong said the team is hosting an end of year showcase at Hart House Theatre on April 29. “We’ve had such an incredible championship year. I was very sad — because I’m graduating — that it will be over so quickly.”
If you’ve seen the Blues dance, you know that their fan favourite performance is the Hip Hop line, “Shots Fired.” It’s a remix to the popular rap song “I Bet U Won’t” by Mouse and Level, and the choreography gives off vibes of a badass energized group of dancers looking to prove the crowd wrong. The Blues dance team did exactly that this season.