Dance team wins 2 golds at worlds

The Gophers squad also picked up silver for their hip-hop routine.

Kyle Potter

The University of Minnesota Dance Team earned two gold medals and one silver at the International Cheer Union World Championships last Friday. Competing as Team USA in Orlando, Fla., the Gopher ladies squared off against teams from all over the world and came out on top in two of three categories: jazz and pom. And with a routine thrown together just a few months earlier, they also took silver in the hip-hop category. After winning gold at nationals in January in both jazz and pom, the team was selected to represent the United States by the International Cheer Union in its second annual international event. ICU has almost 90 member nations from five different continents. ICU spokeswoman Sheila Noone said teams from 65 nations were in attendance Friday at the championships, which included both cheerleading and dance categories. Three countries werenâÄôt able to compete because of flight complications caused by IcelandâÄôs Eyjafjallajökull volcano ash, Noone said. Gophers ladies coach Amber Jackson said this competition felt different than others in her 13-year history with the team. âÄúWhen we go to nationals, itâÄôs about us and our competition,âÄù Jackson said. âÄúWith [this competition], it was about being proud of what weâÄôre doing and how that is impacting the world. ItâÄôs something bigger than just us.âÄù Both Jackson and senior captain Toni Gabrielli said their experiences with one team in particular were unforgettable. Members of Team Mexico made a doll wearing the dress UMDT wore at nationals. Team Mexico members had watched and were inspired by videos of their jazz routine on YouTube. When Minnesota performed the same routine at worlds, Team Mexico was in the front row with tears streaming down its membersâÄô faces. âÄúWe didnâÄôt even realize the lives that weâÄôve touched,âÄù Gabrielli said. For Gabrielli, this competition was the perfect way to close out her four years on the dance team. And although it was a humbling experience to dance with people from so many different countries, she said she hasnâÄôt wrapped her head around the idea of winning two gold medals just yet. âÄúItâÄôs just crazy to think that weâÄôre the best in the world at what we do.âÄù