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NMSU DanceSport Company wins titles at national competition

At the USA Dance National Championships in Baltimore, March 28-30, 12 members of the New Mexico State University College of Education DanceSport Company earned finishes in the top six.

Ten men and women pose with ribbons and medals in front of a banner.
The New Mexico State University DanceSport Company competed at the USA Dance National Championships in Baltimore, March 28-30, and 12 members recorded finishes in the top six. (Courtesy photo)

DanceSport is competitive Ballroom, Latin and Swing dancing. The duo of Brandon Romero and Jade Augustain won the national championship in bronze American Smooth, and Romero and Perla Castillo earned runner-up honors in silver American Rhythm.

?Over the past two years directing the NMSU DanceSport program, I have witnessed tremendous growth in all of our students,? said Hannah Cole, coach and dance assistant professor. ?The fact that we had 14 members qualify for nationals this year in comparison to our seven from last year says a lot. This growth only was achieved due to the tremendous dedication and hard work by every DanceSport Company member. The students are well deserving of the wins they achieved this past weekend. I am so proud of each and every one of them.?

NMSU recorded five third-place finishes from Robert Pena and Augustain (bronze American Rhythm), Zachary Pohl and Natalie Cardenas (silver American Rhythm), Romero and Castillo (gold American Rhythm), Pohl and Ariel Freilich (bronze International Latin) and Romero and Augustain (silver American Smooth).

Four NMSU pairs captured fourth-place honors including Pohl and Katherine Cavaliere (bronze American Rhythm), Aaron Prescott and Freilich (gold American Rhythm), Matthew Cardiel and Jixin Si (silver American Smooth) and Pohl and Freilich (gold American Smooth).

NMSU had two teams finish in fifth place: Cardiel and Freilich (bronze International Standard) and Prescott and Castillo (silver American Smooth) and in sixth place: Leonard Thurman and Si (gold American Rhythm) and Prescott and Castillo (gold American Smooth).

?NMSU should be proud of these students as well,? Cole said. ?They are currently creating a pathway in very unchartered territory when it comes to academia. Being that there are only three universities nationwide that offer a degree program with the emphasis in DanceSport, New Mexico State University is quickly being noticed as a viable alternative to the other programs due to our students? tremendous accomplishments.

?I am also very proud of our community for their generosity,? she said. ?Without the great financial support from the Las Cruces community, the NMSU DanceSport program would not be able to attend these competitions.?

The NMSU DanceSport Company is preparing to select the next celebrity contestants for Look Who?s Dancing Season 7, its primary fundraiser, in the next several weeks. Email nominations to dancesport@nmsu.edu before April 15.

The NMSU DanceSport Company offers free dance lessons every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at NMSU Rentfrow Gymnasium.

Additionally, the NMSU DanceSport Company?s spring show ?Rhythm Nights: The Gift? is at 7 p.m. April 25-26 and at 3 p.m. April 27 at Rentfrow Gym.

For more information, email dancesport@nmsu.edu or call 575-646-5704.