The Mid-West Highsteppers, a high-energy precision drill team, will perform at William Woods University Tuesday, Feb. 27.
The performance, in honor of African-American History Month, will be at 6:30 p.m. in Cutlip Auditorium of the McNutt Campus Center. It is free and open to the public.
The team is composed of Fulton youth, ranging from 9 to16 years old. Their unique performances are a combination of precision steps and moves, all synchronized with the rhythmic beats of their drum corp.
They have performed in schools, universities and in parades locally and in neighboring cities.
Tammy Carter, WWU coordinator of multicultural affairs, feels this performance will both inform and inspire students and the community.
“I chose this group to perform on our campus because I am aware that many students have not heard of or been exposed to the talents of such groups,” said Carter.
“As we celebrate African-American History month, I would be remiss not to share such an important part of African-American experience and culture with the campus and local community.”
Carter feels that viewers will gain a lot from both the performance and the presentation that goes along with it.
“With such performances, students and the community can gain a more holistic insight into one of many cultural practices of the African-American people,” said Carter.
“Through the informative presentation by the group director, students and the community may gain a better understanding and appreciation for the moves, why they are done, why drums are the primary instruments used, and what the story conveyed by the performance says about the history of African-Americans, where they are now, and what lies ahead for the future.”
According to MaToyia Henderson, director and former high stepper, the group is a lot more than a simple drill team.
“Although dancing and drumming is what the community sees, the purpose of the drill team is to promote leadership, teach dedication and to motivate. Through leadership, dedication, and motivation we encourage scholarship, citizenship and showmanship,” said Henderson.
Aside from performing, the youngsters are required to attend practice, learn and live by the high stepper creed, maintain at least a C GPA, pay $5 for their monthly dues and participate in fund-raising and community service activities.
“In the future we are looking to grow as a team and enhance the program by incorporating tutoring and mentoring and holding activity and game nights once a month for the members. But for the moment I am focused on teaching the youth the importance of paving a way for their future,” Henderson said.
Both Henderson and Carter feel the performance will bring a great experience for viewers.
“The very essence of the African-American comes to life through music and dance, and coded speech done through chants. For some this will be an educational event, for others, it will be an event of remembrance and reconnecting,” said Carter.