The Sirens dance their way to nationals



From left to right: Ally Lupinetti and Nikki Karadjov, members of the Sirens, performing pom dance during basketball game.

Janna Gaskins , Contributing Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.− “Some people dream of success while others wake up and work for it.”

This quote accurately represents the Jacksonville University Sirens dance team. The Sirens have put in extra effort in order to shine on a bigger stage than just school events.

This spring the Sirens will be attending the National Dance Association, or NDA, College Nationals for the first time.

Logan Morris, assistant coach for the past two years, discussed the importance of this competition.

“Already we are setting a school record. The 2018-2019 Sirens are the first dance team from Jacksonville University to attend the NDA College Dance Nationals,” he said.

Morris goes on to further explain the new changes the team has made.

“In order for the Sirens to attend nationals we had to add extra hours to our weekly schedule for us to rehearse the contemporary/jazz piece that is set specifically for College Nationals,” he said.

To attend nationals, the team wanting to enter has to create either a jazz, pom, hip-hop, or team performance and send a video in order to receive a “bid,” or invitation, into the competition.

“We submitted a video and were graciously given a bid to compete in the D1 jazz division,” Morris said.

Once a team receives a bid, they begin to get things in order by creating costumes, submitting paperwork, and arranging hotels and transportation.

With this being the first time the Sirens have ever been to nationals, emotions are high among the dancers on the team.

First year dancer, Christina Pittarelli, expressed her excitement about the upcoming event.

“Getting to attend our first national competition is exciting,” she said. “We’ve all been working really hard, and I can’t wait to perform with my team. Being a Siren has made me a stronger dancer and person. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by girls who constantly encourage each other to be their best.”

For one member of the team, this chance is one she has been training for for a long time. Team captain, Nikki Karadjov, shared her feelings about this opportunity.

“Honestly, I cannot believe that we are actually going to nationals this year,” she said. “We have worked very hard and waited a long time to be able to get to this point. We have been training harder than before to prepare for nationals, on top of our day-to-day jobs as full-time college students.”

This opportunity would not have arisen if it had not been for the team having each other’s backs through the whole process.

“We have grown closer than ever this season, and it shows on the dance floor,” said Karadjov.

This bond is one that even the coaches have taken notice.

“The team is extremely supportive to one another,” said Morris. “They genuinely want each other to succeed at life and long after their time at Jacksonville University. Individually and as a whole, there has been so much growth this season. It’s remarkable to see where they started and how far they’ve come.”

Going to a national event does not only impact the team, but the whole JU community.

“This is great exposure for the Spirit Program and Jacksonville University as a whole,” said Morris. “It’s a blessing to represent JU, and we hope to do them proud.”