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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Topperettes, St. Edward’s dance team, compete for first time in five years

Hailey Womack / Hilltop Views
The club sports dance team the Topperettes pose for a group picture. The group recently placed Second Runner-Up in Division II overall and First Runner-Up in the Hip-Hop category in their first competition in five years – and the first competition experience for many of the girls.

The Topperettes dance team, which was defunct since Spring 2023 and recently revived last Fall by students Maria Garcia and manager Madeline Cress, competed at a National Collegiate Competition –: the American Dance/Drill Team Competition (ADTS) — in Denton, Texas on March 23. The team won Third Runner-Up Overall in Division II.

Garcia, who helped restart the team Fall 2023 and functions as coach and choreographer, spoke on what competing meant for the team.

“I was super proud of them because they are literally the first team that competed in five years,” Garcia said. “And I keep reminding them like y’all don’t have any idea how big of a deal it is, y’all being here. (It’s) the only reason why we might be competing like years to come. If it wasn’t for our short effort that we did to just be at ADT, we only did one dance, and usually they do multiple, (it’s) like the first step to being able to get back on like competing regularly.”

The team has two hour practices twice a week, but leading up to the competition, they practiced at least three times a week. They also picked up extra practices after spring break.

“It was kind of stressful, just leading up to that week,” Topperette Lia Koukkari said. “But for us not competing since 2019 I thought we did a really good job, and everyone was just so supportive and kind. Everyone put their best foot forward and effort.”

The Topperettes practice a dance planned for their Spring Show, “Spring Fever.” To a musical backdrop of Michael Jackson, the group starts with their finger pointed to the sky. Pink-hued lighting and Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” resonates off the walls. (Hailey Womack)

Garcia hasn’t competed in dancing competitions before, but alongside Cress, the two figured out how to get the Topperetes competition ready.

“So I’ve never competed in dance, I always did dance at a studio (and) did dancing since I was like one and a half,” Garcia said. “But it was kind of just following the emails that have been sent out throughout the years, and seeing what we had to do, who we had to reach out to and all that stuff. And yeah, and then we drove up to UNT, practiced at a conference room at the Best Western that we were at. And we competed.”

Garcia sees this competition as the first step toward more frequent competition appearances.

“The next step is just, well, I want to place in the competition,” she said. “Now that we know what the other teams look like, and I have an understanding of the level of practice and time we need to put into having multiple dances and stuff, because all that goes into the ranking. Like, basically everything we’ve been doing now on steroids, I want to be able to do it all flushed out.”

The Topperettes also perform at home games for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams during the season. Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations and Strategic Initiatives Leah Glasgow reached out to Garcia to have the Topperettes perform.

“I really enjoy it, I think just the camaraderie of everyone, it’s just fun and brings school spirit,” Koukkari said. “It’s really enjoyable.”.

Now, the Topperettes are focusing on their upcoming Spring Show on April 27 in the Alumni Gym with doors opening at 5 p.m. and the show starting at 5:30 p.m. The show will feature 10 to 12 performances, with the Topperettes planning to collaborate with the St. Edward’s Rugby team, Blue Rhythmic Dance, Cheer and Ballet Folklorico, but the arrangements haven’t been finalized. The title for the show is “Spring Fever” and will be disco themed.

“I had a really good time during the winter show and seeing them like, you know, show out, and competition was really fun as well,” Garcia said. “So, I’m guessing, like, overall, I’m gonna have three favorite moments. And that’d be our winter show, competition and our spring show.”

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About the Contributor
Hailey Womack
Hailey Womack, News Editor
Hailey Womack is a junior English major with a minor in Journalism & Digital Media. This is her third semester with Hilltop Views and her first year as News Editor. She's very passionate about the Austin area, as she has been a native all of her life. When not reading romantic period books, she enjoys playing basketball.

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