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Just as the marching band is an integral part of the HBCU experience, so are the majorette-style dance teams.
HBCU dance teams bring infectious energy and excitement to sports games, pep rallies, and parades through their high-energy synchronized style of dance. In the 1960s, majorette dance teams rose in popularity at HBCUs infusing jazz, West African, and hip-hop dance styles.
According to Essence, “the original majorettes, or “Dansmarietjes” in Dutch, were carnival dancers who used batons. It wasn’t until the idea reached the American South’s high schools and colleges that it came to include a mixture of jazz-ballet and hip-hop dance.”
The first known majorette performance dates back to 1968. Alcorn State University’s majorette team, the Golden Girls made their debut at the 1968 Orange Blossom Classic against Florida A&M. They donned long, golden boots and gold capes, a classic majorette look that has carried onto today. The original Black majorette teams were known for their intricate headdresses accented with feathers and rhinestones. Today, they are known for their extravagant glittery outfits, fringe, and statement gloves that emphasize their movements.
“The majorette dance style is a very unique mixture of stunting, marching, [and] energetic fast clean movements rooted from the Southern areas of the United States,” Dayjasia Wright, the captain of the Golden Girls told Essence.
HBCU majorette-style dance is important not only to HBCU culture but to Black culture as a whole. It is also continuously being praised receiving widespread recognition in the media. From Beyoncé’s historic 2018 Coachella performance and its tribute to HBCU band and majorette culture, to the Southern University’s Fabulous Dancing Dolls ESPN+ docuseries, to popular majorette-style TikTok dance trends, it’s safe to say that HBCU dance teams relevancy and impact is substantial.
We want to hear from you! Who’s got what it takes to take the top spot for the best HBCU dance team?
- You can vote daily (every24hours)
- Poll ends at 11:59 pm ET Friday. March 31st