Majorettes sparkle on the sidelines



Kariana Crutchfield (12), Ti’Nia Hayes (9), Kennedi Turner (10), Kennede Taylor (9), Lauren Hunter (11), JaMyla Marner (9), Imani Hayes (9), Kayla Burton (9), Joselyn Carter (9) and Ashlyn Holmes (9) pose for a picture before their first performance on Dec. 8 at a basketball game against Ridgeway High School.

As the basketball team retreats to the locker room during halftime, 10 dancers dressed in glamorous glittery costumes strut to the center to show their jaw-dropping performance, boasting enthusiasm, energy and passion.

Latita Harden began the majorettes team in 2022, encouraging girls with a dancing passion to join. Through dancing, the girls are able to receive college scholarships.

“I started it last year, but it was hard for us to get it off the ground, so I had tryouts this year to get more dedicated girls,” Harden said. “We were able to really go with it this year.”

The team currently consists of 10 girls, mostly freshmen. The dancers can be found in the east gym or senior gym lobby after school, practicing and rehearsing their dance to perform during basketball home games. 

“When we started practicing it was from Monday, Tuesday and Thursday after school from 2:30 to 4:30 but now since the [basketball] games have started, we practice in-between the games,” Harden said. “We only perform at the home games so sometimes it could be two home games a week, but most times, it’s just one game a week.”

With previous experience leading a majorette team, Harden, along with a dance coach Sasha Janee, teaches the girls each unique dance. Their routines are often a fusion of many forms of dance including hip-hop, contemporary and jazz. 

“I have a coach that comes and helps me with them on the weekends but for the most part, I do more corrections during the week,” Harden said. “The coach comes up with the choreography.”

With Janee’s help on Saturdays and team practices during the weekdays, the dancers felt confident performing their very first dance. On Dec. 8, the team made their debut.

“[Our most memorable moment was] our first game that we were able to participate in [because] there hasn’t been a team here for a few years now [and them] first walking out and having the crowd embrace them [was the real moment],” Harden said. “We didn’t really know how it would work out as a new team, but everyone received them very well.”

At the winter pep rally, the majorette team got to the floor and fascinated many with their showmanship, style and glamor.

“I was really impressed about what they did and their dances really brought culture to our pep rally and our school,” Hudi Al Absawi (11) said.

The dancers have found a passion and motivation for representing their school, and some have already dedicated themselves to dance in the future.

“Majorette gives me something to do, something to look forward to, and I like the feeling of performing,” Kennedi Turner (10) said. “I definitely want to dance in college.”

As a unique Southern performance style, majorette dance has evolved over time, but the legacy of Black majorette teams remains. There are a limited number of schools that have a majorette team, so the parents, coaches and sponsors try their best to give them a chance of dancing at such schools.

“I think the art of dance that they are doing is very much centered around black culture,” Harden said. “A lot of my students want to go to HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] so the style of dance would allow them to get scholarships to go to those schools.”