UVU Dance Team brings home gold for USA; UVU wins the International Cheer Union Competition in the Team Cheer Jazz category


The Utah Valley University Dance Team made history earlier this year when they entered and won the national Varsity Universal Dance Association (UDA) competition in their first attempt. On April 26, the Wolverines shocked the world dance community again by winning gold for Team USA in the Team Cheer Jazz category at the International Cheerleading Union (ICU) World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida.

“It was so surreal representing the USA on such a large level,” UVU Spirit Squad coordinator Ashley Hardison said. "The ICU works closely with the Olympics for this competition, so we knew that every country was sending their top talent to represent them.”

The Championships began in true Olympic fashion: an opening ceremony where athletes from the 75 participating countries walked into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, carrying their nation’s flags. A cultural exchange followed, allowing teams to trade pins, keychains, and other small gifts from their countries. As the host country, USA memorabilia was in high demand.

The events began the following morning and during the two days of competition, 26 disciplines of cheer were showcased. The core categories included Coed Cheer, All Girl Cheer, Doubles, Pom, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Para Cheer.

The UVU Dance Team was chosen to represent Team USA in the Jazz category with a slightly altered version of the routine that won them first place in UDA’s Division 1 Jazz national competition.

But knowing that their routine had been well-received by the judges at nationals did not guarantee them success at the world level.

“The judges were international, and we had no idea what they would consider to be a good routine or performance,” UVU coach Bri Sorenson said. “We had spent hours researching our competition on top of practicing in order to prepare for the competition, but in the end, we could only control what we put on the floor and how we executed our routine.”

The hard work and preparation paid off, as the UVU team representing Team USA advanced to the Jazz finals. After competing against the 10 finalist countries, the Wolverines earned the gold for Team USA, with Team Japan winning silver and Team Mexico winning bronze.

“We were ecstatic when awards were announced,” said Sorenson. “We’re so proud of the girls on our team. We think they’re the best. We think they’re the champions. To have someone else validate all the hard work and hours they put into this season and this competition makes it all worth it.”

At the close of the competition, Team USA came home with 10 gold medals, four silver medals, and two bronze medals.

The International Cheer Union (ICU) was established on April 26, 2004, and is the recognized world-governing body of cheerleading. ICU is made up of 105-member national cheer federations with 3.5 million athletes on all continents. The ICU hosts world championships, consistently welcoming over 70 nations, many global continental and regional championships, and continues to grow as a unified voice for all those who are dedicated to the positive advancement of cheerleading throughout the world.

To have someone else validate all the hard work and hours the team put into this season and this competition makes it all worth it.