By: Maret Elgren, Reporter
OMAHA, Neb. – In the winter, hockey dominates the Omaha sports scene. But at the end of each January, the dance team that can often be seen cheering on the sidelines of Baxter Arena makes its way to Orlando, Florida, to take center stage at the Universal Dance Association National Championships.
Senior group leader Brooke Peterson fondly recalls the team’s annual Orlando trip as a weekend of fun team bonding at Disney World and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports before competing among the nation’s best. Following two consecutive national titles in the Game Day division, the Maverick Dance Team were runners-up in this year’s competition.
“We just work really hard to showcase the best dances,” Peterson says. “I think with Game Day, it’s one of our strongest dances and we’re able to just feed off each other’s energy when we’re on stage.”
Dance Team Head Coach Mo Klug sees this hard work behind the scenes, and knows that it is what allows her team to see continued success on the national stage.
“I think sometimes people see dance team and they see them as these, like, fun, bubbly personalities on the side,” Klug says, “but these are competitive athletes.”
Peterson and Klug agree that the life of a dancer is not just cheering on the sidelines at basketball or hockey games. Like many other athletes, the Maverick dancers face their fair share of early mornings, long practices and schoolwork on top of the physical demands.
“If we have practice in the morning, some of them have class right after practice or some of them go to work,” Klug says. “Depending on the schedule, there might be an appearance that night, on Saturday we’ll have hockey and sometimes we’ll have men’s and women’s basketball.”
This dedication to their craft and their school is what Klug says makes the program special, and why the team succeeds greatly each year.
“In addition to the hard work they put into practices, we also are fundraising for all of our competition expenses,” Klug says. “Camps, competitions, choreographers, travel, costuming…all those things, we fundraise for.”
While gracefully maintaining the balance between supporting their own program as well as their fellow Mavericks in other sports, the dance team has its own goals that they hope to accomplish in the near future. While the team has enjoyed continued success in the Game Day Division at UDA Nationals, Klug hopes to bring home more hardware in all categories.
“Medaling in two out of our three divisions is something that we’re really, really proud of,” Klug says, “and one year we want to get three medals in three divisions across the board.”
While usually seen out supporting their fellow Omaha athletes, the Maverick Dance Team constantly displays an unmatched level of energy and hard work that is uniquely their own.
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