Dance
High school marching band goes all in with incredible dance moves
This is no ordinary drumline. 🤩
Elijah Chan
08.29.22

Right outside the gates of Jefferson Davis High School, the students congregate.

They stood around a group of students in practice jerseys led by a team of four men – all of them holding ceremonial band maces.

I was about to get poppin’.

YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web

Then, with grunted counting, the band stood in attention.

A few cadences later, the drum majors sounded their whistles.

Time for kick-off.

YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web

As they counted the beats, the drum majors swung their maces under their arms, and with snappy movements, they led a roaring cheer.

But this is no ordinary drumline.

This is the Jefferson Davis High School Volunteers Marching band.

The band was showing off their marching out routine which began under their field bleachers.

Unlike other marching bands, a traditionally black school or HBCU field out flashier and spicier bands. This is apparent in how the drum majors marched.

YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web

If this was any other school, the majors would’ve just raised and lowered their maces to the beat and guided the tempo of the band.

For JDHS, however, the drum majors are performers themselves.

They don’t just march. They dance.

The majors started off with exaggerated steps and flaunty arm movements.

Every now and then, the marching band stops which gives the majors a solo dance routine.

The mace is not just a tempo piece for them. It’s a dance prop like a theatrical cane. Their performance melds together snappy band steps and street dance which gives their march that fresh vibe.

YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web

Behind them, the cheerleaders are making their own waves as well. They show off an intensity that is complemented by their majors’ agile yet fluid maneuvers.

The band’s performance is not without challenges, however.

Not as easy as it looks.

While perfecting the routine requires hard work, it is only with leadership and dedication to each other that can help them get there.

YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web

The band experienced polarizing criticism since Justin “Vanilla Funk” Heideman was the lead drum major of an all-black marching band.

YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Showtime Web

Amazing performances always come with criticisms.

Many took his leadership of the band as an offense as people perceive that the space should only be honored by an African-American student.

The criticism started when the marching band was filmed by a popular content creator.

The band conducted its annual homecoming parade when @PubbyLongway captured the event. He was also giving his commentary on Heideman as he led the march.

The video was seen by Longway’s tens of thousands of followers.

Through the backlash, however, Heideman’s fellow drum majors stood by him, saying that people didn’t know the hard work they put in to be in the position they are in now.

When Heideman auditioned, he scored 78 out of 80 points.

The band’s meticulousness and verve can be seen in their performance. The band has since gained popularity after the post which is well-earned when one sees their dedication to the craft.

According to Washington Time, the band performed in various venues and even appeared on America’s Got Talent.

This performance may be novel for some but for African-Americans, this is a celebration of culture and generations of creativity.

See this marching band pump up their peers in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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