U of M Dance Team goes viral on social media while competing at Nationals

MINNEAPOLIS — Whether you’re paying attention to college dance or not, you’ve probably come across clips of the dances this weekend on social media.

Performances of the teams competing in Orlando, Florida this weekend are garnering millions of views on TikTok and other social media sites. One of them being from the University of Minnesota.

In Minnesota on Sunday, the University of Minnesota Dance Team was one of the top Google searches as well.

“It felt really amazing. It was definitely the best I’ve ever performed,” said Grace Kisch, a senior dancer on the team. 

Kisch and her head coach, Amanda Gaines, say the attention is nice, but they’re still focused on the competition.

“We were a little bit aware [of the online attention], but I don’t think we were that aware that it’s gotten to the extent that it has, which is just so cool,” said Kisch.

This year’s jazz routine is to the song, “Dream On” by Aerosmith. It’s a tribute to the team’s 2004 performance to the same song, which was the first year the team became double national champions.

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The U of M Dance Team has gone on to earn 22 national titles since, including their most recent Pom Division 1A win in 2024.

“It truly is our love letter to the legacy that is the University of Minnesota Dance Team, so it’s been really special to get to share it with the alumni, the fans and everyone who has supported the program,” said Gaines.

Cobey Rouse is the team photographer for the Gophers, and several other Minnesota college dance teams competing.

“[I’m] trying to get the state of Minnesota out there,” said Rouse.

His videos are contributing to the viral hype of this team.

“All of sudden there were 100,000 views [on my TikTok videos], and then there’s over 1.5 million on just four little clips of the U of M’s jazz routine,” said Rouse.

Rouse hopes the videos show how talented these college athletes truly are, so they can get the recognition they deserve.

“My mission is to get this to be a NCAA sanctioned sport because it deserves to be,” said Rouse.

Currently, competitive dance is not considered a NCAA sport, so these athletes are not eligible for scholarships.

At the UDA National Championship, the Gophers got 2nd place in Division 1A jazz, behind Ohio State University.

They took home 1st in Division 1A Pom.

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