CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad High School Lancer Dancers came up short for the national championship.
Instead, the prolific dance squad one-upped their own expectations by claiming the 2016 World Championship at the World School Cheer/Dance Competition at the end of January in Orlando, Fla.
The Lancer Dancers, who took the world title in the varsity hip-hop division, also competed in the Universal Dance Association National Championships, which was in conjunction with the worlds, and placed third in the medium divisions for jazz and hip-hop. The competition will air on ESPN.
Coach Laura Nares said it was a lengthy weekend as the girls performed seven times in two days, lost one dancer to an illness in the national semifinals and changed the ending of their hip-hop routine for the semifinals.
Nevertheless, the work paid off.
“It was the most intense 15 minutes ever,” Nares said. “It’s a very nerve racking award ceremony. We were thrilled at both the national awards and world award because the competition was really, really, really good.”
As for the world competition, it’s an invitation-only event with just five schools from the previous year allowed to compete. CHS beat three teams from the U.S. and others from Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Japan and China.
The world competition was sandwiched between the semifinals and finals for nationals, Nares said.
“This was the first year they decided to do the world’s for high school,” Nares said. “We are the first team to get the world championship. I’m sure it will only grow.”
As for the national competition, CHS went up against hundreds of teams from across the country and was able to medal in both disciplines, the first time the team has done so in the last six years.
Complicating matters, Nares said, was when one of her dancers fell ill before the semifinals. It provided a logistical obstacle as the spacing, timing and choreography was off, which resulted in losing points from the judges.
Nevertheless, the girls battled through and advanced to the finals. Additionally, the ill dancer was able to return to the competition as the Lancer Dancers put on a show.
Nares previously said her goal was for her squad to put forth the best performance in the program’s storied history. After the weekend’s results, she said their goal was reached.
“My main goal when we got there and saw the talent was to medal,” Nares added. “We are most proud because that we are so versatile and able to come home with two third-place finishes in two styles that are completely different. We brought our A game.”
All teams had to compete in regional competitions in 2015-16 to qualify for UDA Nationals. The UDA National Championships is the only nationwide dance team competition endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the national administrative organization for high school athletics and fine arts programs.
In addition to performing at school sporting events and competitions, the Lancer Dancers perform in a wide range of community and charitable events each year. Support from the city of Carlsbad and community businesses empowers the squads to compete at such an elite level.
The Lancer Dancers have a long tradition of success in national competition, including 14 national titles in jazz and hip-hop.
“This is the first time in six years that the Lancer Dancers have earned medals in both jazz and hip hop,” said Booster Club President Michelle Ginn. “It’s an amazing accomplishment when you’re competing against hundreds of the country’s top public school and private performing arts school dance teams.”
Both the jazz and hip-hop routines can be viewed online by visiting lancerdancers.com and clicking on “videos.”