The Laker Dance Team Becomes 15X National Champions

April 24, 2024

Quick Facts:

Title of competition: The College Classic

Dates: April 11-13

Location: Orlando, FL (Orange Country Convention Center)

21 dancers

4 captains (Anna Buckman SR, Hailey Hellgeth JR, Annie Gates SO, Alyssa Poppe SO)

Coached by Rael Orao & Katy Nyenbrink



The team hired renowned choreographers to create customized nationals routines for the 2023-204 season. All 3 routines were learned prior to February and practiced 3-6 days a week leading up to nationals. Once at nationals, the team continued practicing for an additional 10-12 hours. Prior to leaving for nationals, the Laker Dance Team co-hosted their Annual Nationals Preview Show for friends and families on April 7.



  • Jazz Choreography: Innovate Dance- Bayleigh Peters & Mia Roberts
  • Costumes: Ignite Dance Connection
  • Hip Hop Choreography: The Lab- Andrew Elam & Triston Ngo
  • Costumes: The Line Up
  • Spirit Showdown Choreography: NKC Choreography- Nick Clements & LDT Alumni, Emma Desiderio
  • Costumes: The Line Up & Pom Express


Competition Categories

DII Jazz (against 11 competitors/schools)

DII Hip Hop (against 10 competitors/schools)

Super Spirit Showdown (with GVSU Cheer)


*Invited to compete in the Dance Battle for both Jazz & Hip hop. The battle is an unscored competition based on performance and entertainment. The battle is divided by genre but not by division.



  • DII Jazz National Champions- Earning the second highest score of the entire competition, across all genres and divisions with a 95.88. Arizona State had the highest score of the competition with a 96.08.
  • DII Hip Hop National Champions- And Hip Hop Battle Winners
  • Super Spirit Showdown National Champions- Performed with GVSU Cheer
  • The Laker Dance Team went from 12X Champs to be 15X National Champions




"My favorite memory from this year was winning the Battle Cup at DTU Nationals with our hip hop routine. “The Battle Round” allows our team to compete against other schools of different sizes and in different divisions than us which always inspires our team to work harder. There was no better feeling than performing one of my favorite routines for such an amazing crowd and bringing home more hardware to GV!"


-Hailey Hellgeth (Junior, Team Captain, Charity Officer)


"People don’t realize the amount of intense and strategic preparation that goes into each performance and the overall presentation. From designing costumes and testing hair styles to practicing 6-7 days a week leading up the event to make sure every movement has been analyzed and “cleaned”. It’s truly a test of our team’s physical and mental endurance."


-Rael Orao (Coach)


"The feeling of performing out on the nationals floor is like no other feeling in the world. After a long season of hard work, dedication, and determination, there is nothing this team won’t do to accomplish our goals. Knowing that every teammate is giving 110% on the dance floor makes performing feel like a dream. It is so rewarding and makes all the hours spent throughout the season feel worth it!"


-Alyssa Poppe (Sophomore, Team Captain)



"Preparation for nationals can be the most exhilarating and stressful time of the year. A few weeks leading up to nationals consists of practicing nearly everyday, making the routines perfect, the costumes sparkly, and our minds sharp. However, the practice doesn’t stop after we land in Orlando, we go all day and night until we hit the floor for finals. It may seem like a lot but without it we wouldn’t be where we are today! All of the late nights, bruises, and soreness is all worth it in the end when we’re rewarded for all our hard work!!"


-Annie Gates (Sophomore, Team Captain, Training Officer)



"The nationals experience with the Laker Dance Team is truly unforgettable. From all of our intense work leading up to our performances, to the feeling of it all paying off, I will keep these memories close to me forever. One of my favorite parts is the special bond that our team forms throughout our journey. We spend hours laughing, creating inside jokes, and just overall having fun with each other. This makes dancing together that much more special, and when we hit the floor for our performances, we know we are all in it together!"


-Karsyn Morgan (Senior)

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Page last modified April 24, 2024