First Ladies Drill Team exhibit steps on Broadway

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The First Ladies Drill Team of Whitehouse has had a busy schedule taking them to New York City Thursday, Feb. 8, until Tuesday, Feb. 13, and on to competition at the Dallas-Fort Worth Championship in Duncanville Saturday, Feb. 24.

The schedule for the First Ladies shows no signs of slowing as they prepare for the American Dance/Drill Team School National Competition taking place Friday-Sunday, March 23-25, to be followed by the Spring Spectacular Friday and Saturday, April 27 -28.

Kayla Norman, First Ladies Drill Team director for nine years, stated 28 students participated in the trip to New York City. Though educational in nature, such trips are taken only every other year.

The trip afforded the students the opportunity to take dance classes from two different New York studios.

“The people we took classes from are kind of famous in a way,” stated Karsen Conser, a senior officer. “One of them was a guy who was in Aladdin on Broadway. The other person we took from had been a Rockette for 15 years. It’s very memorable.”

“My favorite part was definitely the Broadway class because it’s very different from what we do here,” said Skylar Jones, also a senior officer. “That was more stylistic and we got to really be our own person. In drill team we’re all about being a unit, being together. So it was really fun to just find your own style within the dance.”

“I just thought it was awesome to experience a different dancing style than the kind we do here,” commented Sydney Creath, another senior officer. “I thought it was awesome to hear the advice that they had because they all started from somewhere and got to be pretty high up in the dance world. It was awesome to just get some pointers and really hear their stories about how they got to where they are.”

When asked if what they heard from the instructors in the New York studios was anything like what they hear at home, each of them confirmed much of it was.

“I think it was really cool to hear a lot of things that they said that we hear around here, because dance is universal,” Jones remarked.

“While we were on the trip I got to watch them just blossom a little bit more in those dance classes and see them connect the dots from here,” Norman commented.

Apparently, the exhilarating experiences of New York combined with many hours of dedicated practice brought the First Ladies good results at the Dallas-Fort Worth Championship, which was the first competition of the season.

Awards for solo finalists included Karsen Conser, third runner-up and Elisabeth Eckles, second runner-up.

Awards received by First Lady Officers included:

Sweepstakes and Gussie Nell Davis Award (which requires a score of 93 or better from all judges on all routines), Judges Award Officer-Modern, Judges Award Officer-Contemporary, Judges Award Officer-Novelty, Platinum Best Overall Officers, Best in Class Officers-Medium Team and Winner of Best of the Best Officers.

Awards for the First Ladies Drill Team included:

Sweepstakes and Gussie Nell Davis Award, Academic Champions-Medium Team, Judges Award-Team Pom, Judges Award-Team Novelty, “Wow” Factor Award-Team Pom, Voted Most Outstanding Team, Platinum Best Overall Team, Best in Class Team-Medium Team and Best of the Best Team Winner.

“I’m very proud of them; they never cease to amaze me,” Norman praised the team. “I think it’s hard for them to do what they do and get up every morning and practice and do the performances on Friday nights. I push them pretty hard, but they rise to the occasion.”

If you would like an opportunity to see the First Ladies perform, the Spring Spectacular is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, at the Whitehouse High School. The Ladies will perform three team and three officer routines during their show titled Iconic, which includes music by such legends as Elvis, Beatles, Prince and Whitney Houston.

Others groups have also been invited to perform at the show including the varsity cheerleaders, a few vocalists, the theater classes and Maroon Illusion, a junior high dance team will be performing for the second year.

Entry to the show is $10 for adults, $7 for students and will only be available at the door. The times have not yet been announced.

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