A member of one of the most popular competitive hip-hop majorette dance teams in the Southern Region will host a workshop at a local dance school.
Camryn Harris of the Jackson-based Dollhouse Dance Factory – featured on the hit Lifetime network dance reality television series "Bring It!" – will host the workshop on Nov. 23 at Pat Gray Academy. A Pre-Warm Up Day is set for Saturday, from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at the academy. Participation is open to ages 6-18; no previous dance experience is required.
Sharon Howard, dance director and head of PGA's Showcase Dance Company, said she hopes the workshop will evolve into the formation of a local hip-hop majorette dance team.
"This is a very popular form of dance that has generated a lot of interest among of our local young girls," Howard said.
"I worked at Meridian High School and we did the pom squad there. I went from being with kids who wanted to beat me up, to being with kids who loved me because I was teaching them something they didn't know how to do already. They just absolutely thrived on behaving at school to do this type of dance with us," she said.
For those unfamiliar with the dance reality TV series, "Bring It!" features Coach Dianna Williams, "Miss D," and the Dollhouse Dance Factory, home of the Dancing Dolls troupe (ages 10-17) and the Baby Dancing Dolls (children under age 10). The series centers around the teams' preparations for hip-hop majorette competitions with rival dance troupes statewide and outside of Mississippi.
Camryn, who has been dancing since the age of 6, became part of the Dollhouse Dance Factory at age 10. She was voted head drill master of the Dancing Dolls in July 2013. Camryn not only excels in dance, but in academics as well. As an honor roll student, she was recently awarded a spot at the Academic and Performing Arts Complex in the Dance Department in Jackson.
At the upcoming workshop, Camryn will teach participants a dance routine.
Saturday's Pre-Warm Up activity will help Howard organize teams according to dance skills.
"Everybody will come in and we're going to look at their flexibility, coordination and ability to learn steps quickly to determine which group they should be in – beginner, intermediate or advanced," she said.
At the Pre-Warm Up and workshop, participants should wear comfortable clothes which allow for ease of movement.
"They will need to be able to freely move and stretch," Howard said. "They're going to have to show splits and kicks, and we're going to do high-stepping marching and see who can buck. We're just going to go through different techniques and steps to see who needs to be in which group when Camryn comes."
After the workshop, participants will continue to meet at the local dance academy for classes. The cost is $50 each month.
"They will meet once a week, sometimes two or more times a week when they have an upcoming performance," Howard said. "I've already scheduled for them to perform in the Meridian Christmas Parade, and we also want them to perform at community events. And, we would like to be able to compete with other hip-hop majorette dance teams – including the Dancing Dolls and teams from Memphis and other places."
Howard said she hopes that through the dance team, she will fill a void for local girls unable to participate in other activities.
"There's lots of girls out there who could do this and feel good about themselves," she said. "Not everyone can be cheerleaders or in the band. This will provide them the training and skills to perform at local events, and the background to tryout for a college majorette dance team."
What: Workshop with Camryn Harris of Lifetime network's dance reality TV series "Bring It!"
When: Nov. 23, from 2-4 p.m.
Where: Pat Gray Academy, 5014 Poplar Springs Drive
Cost: $55 ($10 for Pre-Warm Up Day on Saturday; $45 for Nov. 23 workshop with Camryn). Total amount due Saturday.
Information: Must RSVP to save a spot; no walk-ins. Call (601) 485-4778