Kicking off the drill season


The drill team practices on the tennis courts in the morning, spread out to maintain social distancing. photo by Annie Herring.

Melody Hu, Staff Writer

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, 28 girls spread out across the tennis courts outside Penson. They are the Hockaday Drill Team. Started by senior Elizabeth Roosevelt and juniors Anne Rubi and Elise Little, the team’s goal is to boost school spirit while giving girls a chance to enjoy dance.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for girls to dance at Hockaday in a team-like setting,” Little said.

Roosevelt, Rubi and Little started the team last year when they noticed that most schools around Hockaday had drill teams. Many of their friends from their dance studio were a part of these teams at their schools, so they were inspired to start one at Hockaday.

“It opens up a new type of dance that hasn’t been ever offered at Hockaday,” Rubi said.

Within the team, there are sister groups, usually consisting of one member from each grade. The sister groups form a tighter bond within the team. The leadership team also has expanded past the three captains. This year, the social media chair is senior Aasha Ardilla, the merchandise chair is junior Claire Cahoon, the secretary is junior Abigail Willingham and the social chair is senior Anna Connolly.

To start the team, the three founders worked out the logistics with teachers and administration. This year, the captains met with members of the Hockaday community to plan how they would approach the season with COVID-19 in mind.

They met with performing arts teachers for advice on how to run their auditions. This year, the team held auditions virtually over the summer. Students were asked to learn and record a short dance and send in a video of turns and kicks. The captains also brought in a dance teacher from their studio to help with auditions.

In addition, they first worked with Dr. Tiffani Kocsis, Assistant Head of Upper School, and Deb Surgi, Director of Athletics, to discuss how the team would function this year. The team then made adjustments to their dance routines, practices, and performance.

One of the defining factors of drill teams are the kicklines. Dancers link up with each other, shoulder to shoulder, and kick in unison. This year, all of the kicklines were taken out of the dances, and more jazz choreography that did not require physical contact was added in.

Practices and performances will also be different this year. To social distance more effectively, the practices have been moved from the Beth Wortley Dance Studio to the tennis courts.

“During typical practices, we usually start by stretching as a team, individually, or in our sister groups. Then, we go over what we learned last practice and start learning more.” Roosevelt said.

All of the performances will be pre-recorded for events. The distance learners will be edited into these videos. The team plans on recording videos for different pep rallies and senior nights.

The team released their first performance for a Move it Monday on Nov. 2.