Two Waxahachie drill team dance members are packing their bags to perform in the halftime show at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on New Year's Day.
At the beginning of the school year, the dancers attended the All-American Dance Drill Team camp. It was during that camp that both Landri Kirk, freshman, and Raynie Spaniel, junior, found out they had this opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people live and on television.
While at camp, they were also both acknowledged as All-American dancers.
For Kirk, this is her first year to try the drill-team-style of dance, but she caught on quickly, making the junior varsity team at Waxahachie High School, also known as the Maidens. She said at camp, “It was all happening so fast. I didn’t even really know what all came with it and then they gave us this pamphlet on it and I was wowed.”
Before this, Kirk practiced dance for six years on and off, developing a passion for jazz and hip-hop dance. She agreed that the relationships she’s made through dance are most important to her life.
“I really enjoy it with the interaction with friends and you workout, it’s really a fun time,” Kirk said.
She genuinely thanks the American Dance Drill Team staff members, saying, “They were so sweet and nice whenever we would be learning they would be so patient and help us through it and if we had questions they would answer them.”
“I was really surprised actually. I thought I worked hard but just knowing I could go to the Citrus Bowl and perform to me is just really cool. I feel like it’s going to be a good experience. I’ve never done anything like this,” Kirk explained.
When she gets on the field for the halftime show, Kirk said there’s going to be a lot going on, as it won’t just be the drill team performing.
“The experience will be great and especially to further my background in drill team and the overall experience, making new friends with a teammate,” Kirk said.
Spaniel has an extensive background in dance as she’s been performing since the early age of two. Her mother was on the drill team at Tyler Junior College and is a drill team director.
Going into the camp, it was her parents the brought up the idea of her going, and she agreed. Once Spaniel took a more in-depth look at the show, she knew this was going to be a wonderful experience.
When she heard she made All-American at camp, “At that moment I was actually star-struck to be given this opportunity.” But it also verified her hard work over the years.
“It made me realize that my hard work has paid off in a way and that my parents would allow me to go to Florida and go show off what I’ve learned in those 12 and half years and to have the experience to go there and grow as a dancer,” Spaniel explained.
Going into camp this year, Spaniel was hoping to get a spot on the All-American team, “but it wasn’t something I had to have. I always want to be my best — I guess when I found out, I felt noticed.”
In her years of experience, this will be the most massive crowd to see her perform. She said, “It’s way bigger compared to Friday Night Lights, so I probably will be scared to death but it will be amazing at the same time.”
Spaniel is looking forward to “growing as a dancer and having this opportunity. There will definitely be memories that will be made and I will remember them forever.”
The girls will be dancing to a 70s and 80s theme with songs that include “Lean on Me,” “I Will Survive,” and “I Need a Hero.”
Spaniel thanked her coaches, Erica Wilcox and Jessica Ramirez as well as her family and God.
Wilcox, the Cherokee Charmers director, said she’s extremely proud of the two girls and their hard work.
“It’s a great experience for younger girls to go out and get this experience so when they get back they can tell all the girls on the team what they experienced so that way we can have more than two girls going and keep growing,” she said.
Wilcox commented on both of the girl’s work ethics on the team. “Both young ladies are very hard working and are very determined. For Raynie, she’s extremely determined and is a perfectionist so she won’t stop until she gets it. She’s always working on bettering her dance technique.”
She added, “Landri definitely leads by example. She wants to show the girls, ‘yes I can do this even though I’m only on JV but I can still go out and have these opportunities.’ She’s not one to boast about it.”