Stepping Up, Standing Out

Bounce Back Steppers gain respect and opportunities after overcoming difficulty

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Stepping Up, Standing Out

Junior Asia Johnson concentrates on her choreography as she dances at the fall pep assembly.

Junior Asia Johnson concentrates on her choreography as she dances at the fall pep assembly.

Zoe Lentz

Junior Asia Johnson concentrates on her choreography as she dances at the fall pep assembly.

Zoe Lentz

Zoe Lentz

Junior Asia Johnson concentrates on her choreography as she dances at the fall pep assembly.

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A whole gym full of student’s phones are out, cameras are recording, and everyone is elated. It’s a typical pep rally. The Bounce Back Steppers are bouncing their way onto the empty Francis Howell Central gym floor for their performance.

It’s the culture … that’s what makes it,”

— Heaven Loggins

The Bounce Back Steppers are planning on becoming a spirit team now instead of a club. Being a spirit team has many advantages: they receive more respect from students and teams, and get more performance opportunities, to name a few. Member and senior Elizabeth Dailey-LaFlore compares being a Bounce Back Stepper to being a dancer. So when a club really is more a team, they would like to be recognized as such.

They have practices every Tuesday and Thursday, unless it is the week before the performance, then it is every day. They have to choreograph their moves and make changes as they go, just like dance and theatre. They feel the stage fright like every other team or performer. So, as one can see, they are just like any other performance team.

Member and senior Heaven Loggins feels because they don’t perform at many school events or have titles from competing at competitions, they don’t receive as much support as spirit or sports teams.

“We’re not going to competitions and bringing back trophies for the school to show off in the case and put on Twitter for people to see, so it’s hard to get recognition for accomplishments when you don’t have tangible items,” Loggins said. 

They are also made of a minority within the school and believe they do not receive as much recognition as spirit teams when they do just as much work. 

“Particularly in the area it’s hard to find things that are tailored to people of color: things that have culture behind it, deeper meaning and just says something,” Loggins said.

The Bounce Back Steppers started in 2017 as a cultural club. Something different, new; an outlet for minorities to have their own, special performances. Now, the Bounce Back Steppers are working toward another goal: becoming an official spirit team. 

Dailey-LaFlore said it started when they began performing at more basketball games. Now they are requesting even more basketball and football games. Then thinking up things such as entire step-inspired events.

“We kind of wanted to do more football games, it’s just figuring out where to stand where they can actually hear us,” Dailey-LaFlore said.

The team started off with Ms. Shannon Harting, a counselor, as their sponsor. Now it is Mrs. Jessica Bulva, an English teacher, who is more a coach than just a name to paper. Loggins appreciates that Mrs. Bulva is more of a coach, not just a representative figure in the Bounce Back Steppers community.

Loggins also explained some new ideas being incorporated this year. They are working more with music, And each member’s steps will be slightly different every time because they are allowing the performers to make them their own.

“We have been incorporating music a lot more. Not just for the intro or end of the show but we’re using music in the middle of a lot more or having a lot more customizable steps,” Loggins said.

“[Mrs. Bulva] goes to practice. She tells you when something’s wrong… she’ll give you a suggestion on what you can change,” Loggins said.

The step team has such a strong bond, they’re more like family than friends sophomore and member Rickeena Brantley said. 

“We’re always arguing, but we treat each other like a family,” Brantley said

Loggins agrees, in fact, she says the people on the team and how they interact offstage, not what they perform onstage, are what make them special.

 “…it’s the people. Yes, the elements like being able to be yourselves and have a good time and just encourage each other, it’s not just during step; but if somebody accomplishes something the whole team celebrates at anything. It’s the culture … that’s what makes it,” Loggins said.

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