Gymnast Nia Dennis sauntered onto the mat to serve up another dose of Black excellence during her meet against Arizona State University this weekend.
The UCLA champ initially went viral for her Homecoming–inspired routine that featured some of Beyonce’s greatest hits including “Crazy in Love,” and “Ego” last season. This time she kept that same energy by tapping into a variety of musical eras and genres that each spoke to the nuances in Black culture.
Dennis began her routine by taking a knee and raising a fist. Next, she went on to perform a series of moves as Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA,” blared in the background.
She followed that by paying homage to the step culture of Black fraternities and sororities and the snap dancing that once ruled the Southern nightclub scene as her flawless ponytail swayed behind her.
Dennis patted her chest and clapped under her knees with fury during “Pass The Dutch,” before swirling her body with perfect timing to Monica and Dem Franchise Boyz’ “Everytime Tha Beat Drops.”
The routine incorporated West Coast street dances, the infamous heel toe, and a split that was completed in midair.
During a post-meet press conference hosted by UCLA Athletics Dennis said, “I wanted to have a dance party because that’s my personality.”
She also revealed her nod to stepping was a result of her father’s history with Greek organizations. “I wanted to give a tribute to my father. He’s greek, he was in fraternities, and stepping is really big,” she said after removing her rhinestone-embellished facemask.
Dennis’ institution stood behind her choice to represent her culture during the competition. They tweeted a clip of her performance from their official Twitter account with the caption “This is what #blackexcellence looks like. @DennisNia does it again!” They capped the message off with a well deserved flame emoji.
Watch the full routine below.