Starting from scratch

Bengal steppers dance onto scene with spirit, unique moves

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Meagan Biedinger

The Bengal Steppers perform in the main gym during halftime at the varsity boys basketball home game against Wichita Falls. The steppers were one of the first organizations to form at Braswell.

“Who are we? BBS! Who are we? BBS!”

Step after step, hair flip after hair flip, the Braswell Bengal Steppers always get their crowd rowdy and bring the school spirit.

The team was founded by Diamond McBryde, Kerra Jones, Raven Williams, Justin Maycock and former sponsor Elisha Bracy and current sponsor Stacie Wells. Two days after they got the OK to start the step team, the group was asked to perform at Braswell’s first pep rally.

“We had to put all of our fears aside and do it,” McBryde said.

After seeing the performance, others decided to join.

“I just wanted to try something new, now that I’m in high school,” Aziya Wilson said.

At times, drama would arise, but the team didn’t let it tear them apart. In fact, it brought all of them closer.

“With a new team, we ran into a lot of complications,” Jones said. “Communication was the biggest problem — we usually have meetings before we go into the practices and lay out our problems and find ways to fix them.”

The team is a mixture of freshmen, sophomores and juniors who all have a passion for stepping, and Wells has a plan to better them as both steppers and people. Stepping originated from the military as a form of drills, and Wells wants to teach the steppers about that history and make them more polished in their performance.

“It’s not all about the dance, it’s about knowing the history of the dance and knowing where it came from,” Wells said. “That way, you can appreciate it and know you’re a part of history.”

Wells is in the process of trying to get the step team in a step show in Arlington to give them some extra exposure. So far this year, they have not only participated in pep rallies, but also the MLK March that took place Jan. 16 in Denton and the Denton Black Film Festival.

Wells hopes that the experiences the step team has had will give them the drive to work towards their goals.

“I want them to be perfect in everything they do,” she said. “The step team, they’re going to go far with or without me because those students are determined, strong-minded, and strong-willed.”