The National Dance Alliance (NDA) hosts one of the most prestigious cheer and dance national championships in the country. Cheer and dance teams from throughout the world come together to compete for national titles in a variety of divisions.
The Lionettes Dance Team attends the NDA competition in Daytona Beach, Fla. every spring. Each year the team competes with a routine comprised of three categories, jazz, pom and funk. The performances are judged based on skill, technicality, uniformity, presentation, staging, choreography and degree of difficulty.
The third-place finish is the best in Lionettes' history and continued the success set by the 2009 squad. Over 230 teams competed in the competition, most of which were striving to be invited into the Division IA grouping.
Sue Sherburne, the mentor and director of oversight responsibilities for the team, said that increasing the number of girls performing from 14 to 17 added to the difficulty of the routine and "helped spotlight the talent of the Lionettes."
Sherburne also cited choreographers Laura King and Bridie Schellenberg as great influences on the team's success.
"Laura and Bridie helped put together an amazing routine for these girls," said Sherburne.
Despite two quality choreographers helping the dancers, the Lionettes are still one of the few dance teams at nationals who do not have a full-time coach. Sherburne stated that quality leadership from the team's six seniors and from their three senior captains helps to push the rest of the Lionettes.
The NDA consists of a 2:15 dance that must include 30 seconds of jazz, 30 seconds of hip-hop, and 30 seconds of pom.
Sherburne said that competing at the NDA gives the Lionettes a chance to "dance not just for entertainment, but to compete for their school."
Competing at NDA Nationals and at basketball and football games are all exciting for the Lionettes, but as Sherburne said, "the NDA has a different push, because it is you competing." Sherburne said that the NDA really gives the Lionettes an opportunity to showcase their immense talent.
However, it takes a lot more than just being a good dancer to compete as a Lionette.
"You must be willing to take on responsibility as a role-model," said Sherburne.
Within the three-day tryouts, the final stages consist of an interview that ensures that the Lionettes are excellent representatives of the team and of Penn State.
The Lionette dance team proudly holds a team GPA above a 3.6, and all 27 members of the team carry a GPA of at least a 3.2. They are all actively involved in Penn State's THON, as well as many other charity events.
Sherburne said that even with their success the team remains focused on their mission statement, which is being "ambassadors for the University."
The Lionettes third place performance will air the weekend of April 24 on Fox Sports Network.
The 2009 Dance Team competed at the NDA competition.
In 2007, the Lionettes Dance Team competed in the preliminary round of the NDA competition. Then, the team competed in the Challenge Cup where they earned first place, advancing them to finals.
At finals, the Lionettes Dance Team placed ninth in Division IA.
At finals, the Lionettes Dance Team scored 9.17 (out of 10) and placed seventh among the top 13 teams in Division IA.
At finals, the Lionettes Dance Team scored 8.90 (out of 10) and placed sixth among the top 12 teams in Division 1A. The scores of the top five teams ranged from 8.97 to 9.54. Penn State also ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten.