Utah Tech University’s Blaze Dance Team Excels With National Second Place Finish

By Jake Harber

The Utah Tech University Blaze Dance Team, in only its third year of competing, pulled off a stellar second place finish at the 2024 United Spirit Association Dance Nationals held in Anaheim, CA, earlier this month.

The team left on Thursday, Feb. 15, and spent a free day on Friday in Anaheim, taking the day to rest and prepare for the competition.

On Saturday, the team practiced at a local studio for a few hours earlier in the day before getting ready and checking in for semifinals. The girls performed late Saturday night in both the hip-hop and jazz categories.

The focus and concentration continued into Sunday, with the team preparing for finals at the studio again and then performing again, this time earlier in the afternoon.

Evaluation criteria was based on choreography, execution, and performance. The Blaze excelled in these categories, especially in their hip-hop routine, for which they finished in second place nationally.

“Our theme this year was ‘Whatever It Takes’,” Esplin said. “Then we believed we could, and we did.”

After half a year of hard work, intense practice, early mornings and late nights, the team was excited to leave it all on the stage and see the final product come to life.

“These girls put in hundreds of hours of work, and having a second place and a silver medal is absolutely incredible,” Esplin said. “This was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and this team was truly a dream team in all my 20 years of coaching.”