By Naeisha Rose
The Queens Southside Seahawks cheerleading squad defeated their competition in Florida and became first place Division 10 Dance champions at the 2017 American Youth Football & Cheer National Competition and second place winners in step, according to the team’s Director Kim Wilson.
“I really can’t believe we did,” Wilson said. “We pulled it off, and I’m so excited for the girls.”
The Division 10 Dance Championship is the first national win for the team, which has been under Wilson’s leadership for the past four years, said the Rosedale native.
“We’ve been to nationals every year,” Wilson said. “The last two years we actually placed, but this year we won!”
The Southside Seahawks practices at the Virgil Grissom Middle School in South Ozone Park, and earlier on Nov. 18 they earned two first place wins at the eastern regional leg of the competition also in dance and step and that garnered them spots in the National Competition, according to the director.
The first place Bollywood-hip-hop routine that helped the young girls aged six to 11-years-old become victorious was representative of the diversity of Queens, according to Wilson’s daughter and Head Coach Taieisha Charles.
“I watching movies with my friend who is of Indian descent,” Charles said. “I thought it would be different, rather than having everyone dancing to the same song as everybody else…so I just took it from there.”
The Bollywood-hip-hop dance also fused acrobatics and Reggaeton in the routine, according to Charles.
“The kids like to dance to the newest things that is out here today so one of the songs to the beat to the [Reggaeton] song called ‘Mi Gente,’” Charles said. “I found a mix with the Bollywood deep drums in it, and the girls loved it.”
Charles didn’t only find inspiration from her friend, but the girls themselves.
“On the team we have girls who are African-American, afro-Hispanic, West Indian, some are of Indian descent,” said Charles. “So I try to take a little bit of all the cultures and mix it all into one.”
“This made the girls understand each other more as far as music-wise,” said the coach.
For the step routine Charles, who regretted not pursuing a sorority while in college in Miami, decided to do a routine similar to the stroll’s sisters at Historically Black Colleges and Universities do, according to Charles.
“That is just one thing I wished I had done in while I was in college,” said Charles. “Their steps are always bold and they have attitude. I just love everything about sororities. A sorority is a whole bunch of girls who you consider to be your sisters, so that is why I went with that theme.”
Wilson hopes that as the girls continue to dance across the country that they will continue to grow and get to know themselves, each other and build character along the way.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose