Burke Westview Dance Team makes it to National Dance Team Championship finals, first time in OPS history

The Burke/Westview Dance Team was in a national competition Sunday in Florida
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 5:19 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Burke Westview High School Dance Team is making Omaha Public Schools proud.

The coach, Emma Morice, told 6 News they’re the first dance team in OPS history to make it to the finals of the UDA High School National Championships in Orlando, Fla.

After making it past the group stage and semifinals, the excitement was too much to contain. Cheers echoed around the 19 dancers.

The joint Burke Westview Dance Team faced off Sunday evening against 13 other teams for a national championship in the mid-sized pom division.

“Since our team has never ever gotten the chance to make it to the finals before, it’s very exciting to make history in OPS,” said co-captain Lanae Howard.

What they described as a disappointing performance last year has fueled their desire to come back even stronger.

“From last year, like knowing that we didn’t make it far, watching finals, seeing how good the teams are. We knew we had to work that much harder,” said another co-captain, Elle Christensen. “And so this year we really put our game faces on and we knew we had to buckle down and get it done.”

“The time to peak is nationals and hopefully that’s today for us,” said Avery Christensen, the third of four captains. And our goal is to hopefully bring back some hardware.”

Hundreds of teams across the country came to compete in Orlando, with nearly 20 teams representing Nebraska, but just one representing OPS.

“Our motto this year was “stay hungry.” But to stay hungry for our success. Stay hungry for our goals. And just stay hungry to push forward to do what we know we can do,” said Coach Morice.

For the seniors, it’s particularly sentimental.

“Knowing that this is the last time I’m going to take the stage with my teammates makes me really sad but also really proud and happy at the same time,” said co-captain and senior Erin Carlson.

On Monday, they make their way back to Omaha. But no matter the results, their coach is proud of them either way.

“We as a coaching staff are so confident in them. And so it feels so good to be able to hear the judges see that as well,” said Morice.

The girls placed 13th in the nation in the medium poms. They competed against nearly 90 teams throughout the entire competition.