New group, Prestigious Pardettes, to bring hip-hop and majorette to campus

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Photo by Emma Sylvester

The Prestigious Pardettes will be holding auditions to join their dance group on Sept. 14 and 16.

The Lafayette dance scene is getting bigger this year with a brand new hip-hop and majorette group, the Prestigious Pardettes, that hopes to diversify dance on campus.

The experience of sophomore Janiya Hood finding her place within the college’s dance community during her freshman year inspired the group’s creation.

“When I would see the dance team or cheer [team], I kind of felt like I wouldn’t be able to fit into those or it was something that I wouldn’t always enjoy,” Hood said.

Hood began arranging a new dance organization in which she could visualize herself feeling comfortable and confident. She brought the idea to junior Jamal McIntosh who had also noticed the limited styles of dance on campus.

“When we met and we started getting closer and she mentioned it, I was like, ‘I want to do this as well.’ So it was kind of a strange coincidence, but now I’m happy that it happened,” McIntosh, who is a co-founder of the group, said.

“We really wanted to bring new types of dance to the Lafayette dance community. Specifically, we wanted to bring more black dance forms. That’s really the purpose of us forming this club,” he said.

Hood and McIntosh hope that by introducing the majorette style, which features baton twirling accompanied by dance, as well as hip-hop, they will be giving African-American students the opportunity to find a dance community on campus.

“A lot of the dance performances and groups here at Lafayette all presented the same styles of dance. As a student of dance, I know that there are so many different ways to express yourself through dance,” McIntosh said. “I wanted to start a club that does exactly that.”

“We’re opening another outlet for people to feel like they could fit in,” Hood added.

McIntosh believes that a dance environment is a great place to build a family on campus.

“Dance is a pretty good tool to bring people together. I hope that once we’re established as a club, that it will really be a family space where everyone can come together and do something that they love,” McIntosh said.

He hopes the Lafayette community will engage with the club’s performances.

“We want our audience to be thoroughly entertained. We want to truly embody the art form and evoke emotions from the audience that will add to whatever setting we perform in,” McIntosh said.

The group will be semi-selective and will hold auditions on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and Friday, Sept. 16. Hood and McIntosh plan on performing at football and basketball games, as well as putting on a Prestigious Pardettes showcase later this year.

“Given that we are going to perform, we want it to be more selective, but it is still a dance club and we still want everyone to feel included,” McIntosh said.

Hood and McIntosh will be looking for dancers that demonstrate confidence and energy.

“We’re looking for personality,” McIntosh said. “Anyone can execute choreography, but what are you bringing to the choreo?”

With the goal of fostering a welcoming community, Hood and McIntosh will be paying attention to dancers who show a willingness to help others improve themselves. Students do not have to have experience in the hip-hop or majorette dance styles to join the team. Hood and McIntosh will be looking for perseverance in those auditioning.

“When I first started dancing, I wasn’t that fast, but I was catching on. I never ended up giving up,” Hood said. “If you can’t get it right away, don’t give up.”

They plan on teaching all members choreography and leaving it up to the dancers to choose if they are comfortable enough to perform.

“Prestigious Pardettes is a fun way to express yourself and find people who like to do the same things you do,” McIntosh said. “You can also discover something that you never knew you were good at.”

For updates on the Prestigious Pardettes auditions and future performances, visit @Prestigious_pardettes on Instagram.