UIL is a big DEAL for dancers

Dance students soar in the Dance Educators Assessment of Learning


Sarah Boutouis

Looking at their classmates, former sophomore Michelle Jaeger and junior Sathyashri Muruganandam hold the bars. After months of preparation, Dance 1 students recieved the highest rating at the DEAL competition.

Aashi Oswal, Guest Contributor

Eager to show off their new dancing skills, Dance 1 headed to Centennial High School for the DEAL UIL assessment. 

The DEAL assessment has 3 sections in which the dancers learn a dance combination on the spot that gets judged later on. 

“In section 1, a teacher gets up and teaches the dancers a combination that is 8 sets of 8 counts each, for 15 minutes only,” dance teacher Sarah Cadungug said. “Section 2 is when I get up there and clean the dance and make them feel better about the combination. Then section 3 is when they do it by themselves. They have to perform the combination two times for the judges, and then after that, the judges talk with them and give them feedback for the whole process. They get ribbons at the very end.”

Dance 1 ended up getting a Division 1 Rating with blue ribbons, which was the highest distinction a class could get at DEAL.

“I was overjoyed, I mean I had already had such a fun experience because dance is such a fun class for me to be in,” Dance 1 student Tahina Das said. “My classmates, we’re like a big team almost and so when we saw the blue ribbons we were overjoyed.” 

In the weeks leading up to the assessment, Dance 1 worked in class to prepare.

“Because we’ve done this multiple years, we have practice combos to run and so I worked with them for that, from around the start of January,” Cadungug said. “In those 3 weeks we learned combos and practiced, and since there are always going to be certain skills that are going to be there, we worked with them to prepare for that.”

The dancers credit their win to their preparation.

“It felt like we accomplished something that we prepared for and worked hard for, especially considering that we are beginners in dance,” Dance 1 student Trisha Shiramagond said.