Dance Team makes history at nationals [MULTIMEDIA]

Megan Lee | The Chronicle

For the first time in program history, Mason High School’s (MHS) Varsity Dance Team cracked the top five at Universal Dance Association (UDA) Nationals. 

The MHS Dance Team took the stage from February 2 to 4, 2024 in Orlando, Florida at the prestigious UDA Nationals, a competition that hosts college and high school dance teams. The Dance Team competed in both Hip-Hop and Game Day this year and made it to the semi-finals for their Game Day performance. The team showed up to UDA Nationals hoping for a top ten placement for the program, but left breaking records, being fifth in the nation in Large Varsity Hip-Hop.

Photo contributed by Morgan Welch
MHS Varsity Dance Team dances for the final time at UDA Nationals.


Junior Morgan Welch said the team has grown these past couple of years through a common feeling of accomplishment. The hard work and dedication, Welch said, have been at the forefront of the progress of their program. 

“We made finals my freshman year, in the top 14, but before that, we hadn’t made finals since 2007,” Welch said. “[That’s] literally the year I was born, which is kind of insane.” 

This drive for success has left Welch and her peers eager for more, with their fifth-place achievement this year serving as motivation for the years to come. With the success of the past couple of years, Welch is confident that the team will only continue to flourish.

“Even though our division was so crazy hard, we really wanted to place good at finals,” Welch said. “Fifth place is more than we could have ever imagined.” 

Freshman Alex Hodges said that as a first-year team member, he was nervous about the atmosphere. However, Hodges said experiencing UDA Nationals was a thrilling experience and he could not be more proud of the team’s accomplishments. 

“For me, it was my first time going on to the Nationals floor,” Hodges said. “We were all so excited and very anxious because we wanted to prove ourselves as a team.” 

Hodges said that to everyone on the team, it was especially important that they support one another, especially on the national stage. Hodges said he wanted to succeed for the seniors who would soon be leaving the program behind for college, and who hold a very special place in his heart for their support all season.

“The whole team is very welcoming and the seniors were so helpful,” Hodges said. “The whole team chemistry is just great.”  

Hodges said that his first year could not have gone any better and he hopes to continue reaching these kinds of achievements for the rest of his high school career. He said that being a role model to the students who come after him will forever be vital to the success of the dance team. 

“I definitely think that we should always try our hardest,” Hodges said. “No matter what place we get, we should always be striving to do the best that we can and support one another.” 

Junior Lauren Bowers said that the entire 2024 Nationals experience will always be a highlight of her time in the dance program. Even with the hardships, Bowers said that fifth place in the nation has proved to the team that they are so much more than they seem. 

“We were so insanely proud of ourselves,” Bowers said. “Our coaches were crying, everybody was just crying, it was just the best feeling ever.” 

Bowers said that the moment MHS was announced as the fifth place finalist, she could feel a connection between the entire team. Bowers said that as the team moves to the future, she wants to bring that connection into the dance studio, and work to make the team even better. 

“We are always cheering for each other, we are all there for each other,” Bowers said. “When we went out you can hear us yelling for each other and that support means so much when you are out there.” 

Bowers said that the support from her friends and teammates has not only made her a better dancer, but a better version of herself. Making program history, Bowers said that she knows there is more to come for the MHS Dance Team. 

“We feel like we are meant to be here,” Bowers said. “I hope next year we can do the same thing, even better.”