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'Black Excellence': UCLA's Nia Dennis stuns in floor routine paying tribute to Black culture

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·2 min read
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The UCLA gymnastics team has done it again.

The Bruins not only opened their season in standard victorious fashion, they also are gaining national attention for one athlete’s magnificent floor routine.

Nia Dennis broke into headlines last season for her Beyonce floor routine and upped the ante in 2021 with a routine dedicated to Black culture.

The UCLA Gymnastics Twitter account sent it out with “This is what #blackexcellence looks like.”

And it really is.

Dennis, a senior, opened the performance with Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA.” The song examines Blackness and how it’s viewed by different groups of people. There’s also music by Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, Megan Thee Stallion and Tupac Shakur’s “California Love.”

She also stepped as a tribute to her father, who was involved in Greek Life. The entire routine was about who Dennis is today, she told the Los Angeles Daily News.

“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.”

Dennis, ranked 18th in the nation on floor at the end of 2020, first “broke the internet” last gymnastics season with her floor routine to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”

It came a year after former teammate Katelyn Ohashi broke onto the national stage with her flawless perfect 10.0 floor routine.

Nia Dennis.
UCLA's Nia Dennis is making headlines again. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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