As you may know, SAU’s dance team recently won the NAIA Large Dance National Championship title. This week’s campus celebrity, junior Laurel Whitford, is a part of the 2012 dance team that has made SAU history.
The title is one of her best memories, proudly stating that the “feeling will never go away.”
Laurel is a 21-year-old with a bright smile and open heart who loves to meet new people. She is from Cambridge, Ill. where she has an older brother and sister, and a niece or nephew on the way. Her family is one of the most important things to her because “they have shaped who I am today.”
Dance has also been a major part of her life for about 12 years. She started the sport with tap dancing when she was only three years old and continued until she was six. Then she took a break until junior high but has been dancing ever since.
Laurel is not a stranger to success when it comes to dancing. Although she attended a small high school, her team made it to state every year. This year the Bees won first place in Jazz and Hip Hop divisions and second in Pom at the Iowa State Dance/Drill Team Association state competition, the largest dance competition in America. The team also won its second straight NAIA Dance Regional Championship with their Hip Hop routine, which earned them the trip to the national competition in Florida.
“Once making it to Florida, we knew we still had so much work ahead of us. We came out of prelims placing second, being beat by our rivals, Grandview University, only by .02 points. That same day, after hearing our score, we endured the most difficult practice I have ever had in
my life. Fortunately, the hard work paid off and I wouldn't have changed one thing about the whole experience.”
Outside of dance, Laurel is a psychology major at SAU. She is a part of the Peer Mentor program and has worked as a mediator for the university. Next year, she is excited to be a part of themed housing in the Spirit House – “go bees!”
When asked about her favorite part of St. Ambrose, Laurel’s love for people shone through.
“I love the fact that I can walk across campus and say hello to at least five people that I know along the way.”
Laurel made a point to thank the Ambrose community for everything it has done for the dance team.
“We just really appreciate how much feedback we have gotten throughout our season. It really makes a difference knowing we are appreciated by our campus and it gives us more of a drive to perform well.”
For those who want to see the title-winning routine, you can find the video here: http://varsity.com/event/1581/2012_NCANDA_College#ooid=gyZmhnNDoJF2mMR6y...