Dance team wins another Game Day national title
By Mike Kilen
GCU News Bureau
The Grand Canyon University Dance team last weekend won its fifth national title in four years in the Game Day category.
Game Day showcases a team’s performance of the fight song, dancing with the band and timeout routines. Anyone who is attend a GCU sporting event where Dance appears knows the team is very good at it.
“We are a Game Day school. That’s who we are, so it gives us an emphasis as a team,” said GCU Dance coach Jacque Genung-Koch.
It’s GCU’s second consecutive title at the USA Collegiate Championship in Anaheim, California, which is typically geared toward teams in the western U.S. GCU also won the Game Day title at the Universal Dance Association College Dance Team National Championship in Orlando, Florida, in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Genung-Koch said the team’s togetherness and faith are keys to its national prominence.
She said the dancers are all willing to work toward what’s best as a team, and that reflects positivity during a performance.
At competitions, people ask her what makes them so good.
“Well,” she tells them, “Jesus.”
It’s partly why Genung-Koch was nearly as enthusiastic about the team’s second-place finish in the Jazz category on Sunday. While most teams picked a hard-hitting piece of music to accompany the performance, the Lopes chose the Lauren Daigle worship song “Hold on to Me.”
The GCU dancers showed what’s important to them, and judges responded by telling her the team’s strong connections to each other came across on stage. The Lopes won Jazz in 2020. (The USA competition wasn’t held in 2021.)
Genung-Koch said the 18 members of the team who competed were emotional after the performance.
And they were exuberant after the Game Day win, which came on the heels of January’s fourth-place finish in Game Day at UDA.
They learned from their past performance, she said, and really wanted to excel because the team was a “paid bid” in the USA competition, earning a reduced entry fee by its showing in summer camps. In short, the team is gaining a reputation for solid performances wherever it goes.
Genung-Koch stood back and took it all in, watching the team’s elation as the dancers jumped around “like little kids.”
“This is going to be a highlight of their careers,” she said.
Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.