Everyone's standard of what "going viral" exactly means is different these days, but I think it's safe to say that when ESPN, Janet Jackson, Women's Health, Sports Center, BET, Karamo, Oprah Magazine, the LA Times, CNN, Billboard, and countless others repost your routine, you've done it.
Nia Dennis, a senior at UCLA, competed as the anchor spot in the floor lineup at their home meet against Arizona State, and the posted video quickly gained attention beyond the gymnastics community. Dennis actually went viral last year for her Beyonce-themed floor routine, and she is back in 2021 with a new routine, making headlines all over again.
Though there are so many fun floor routines in the sport with the potential to go viral, it's clear to see why this one has - Dennis looks overjoyed to be back out on the floor, and she's moving to fun choreography and popular music from Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, Tupac, and Megan Thee Stallion. The result is a feel-good routine that reminds you not only of how incredible the sport is, but how fun as well, an aspect that NCAA is often praised for calling attention to.
This routine is even more impressive when you consider that UCLA barely had any time to practice before their competition season this year due to COVID. Since this is a new routine for Dennis, it will take weeks to perfect, and later this season, Dennis's moves and tumbling will only improve beyond this already impressive showing. She scored a 9.95 for this performance, but definitely has the possibility of scoring a perfect ten this year with this routine. This weekend, however, a 9.95 was enough as it helped UCLA secure their win over Arizona State, a close score of 196.15-196.95.
UCLA initially posted the routine, calling it #BlackExcellence, and it was a celebration of Black culture, as Dennis told the Los Angeles Daily News that she wanted to include her culture in the routine. She acknowledged Black culture through stepping to honor her father, who was involved in Greek life.
“This routine definitely reflects everything that I am today as a woman,” Dennis said, “and of course I had to incorporate a lot of parts of my culture. I wanted to have a dance party because that’s my personality and of course I had to shout out LA because we out here, UCLA.”
Clearly she got her dance party, as you can see her teammates and supporters dancing alongside her as she completes her routine, and now millions of people are rocking it out at home while watching her video.
She even got a shoutout from Simone Biles, and when you're in gymnastics, getting a shoutout from the GOAT is definitely a win.
If you want to see the entire routine, you can check it out here. You might want to reserve a bit of time to view it, because chances are, you're going to want to watch this more than once.