They've placed first in every competition they've been a part of in North Texas and now, a group of young ladies from Mansfield say they have what it takes to make it to the national competition.
They call themselves the Lake Ridge High School "Dynasty Step Team." These 43 young ladies without a doubt demand your attention when they're on stage during their powerful step routines. And for the past two years, at every local competition, they have come out on top.
The team says they are surprised by their success and now they want to go up against some of the best step teams in the country.
"We feel like we've conquered the DFW area, and you know, we want to compete against the other teams up north, we want to compete against teams in Atlanta, North Carolina, New York, St. Louis, everybody," said Dynasty Step Team coach, Kerry Wright.
"It's going to take a lot of hard practice outside of school, it's going to take determination. We have to be willing to try new things and be humble. Because it gets frustrating, but as long as we have each other and we stick together, then we can make it to nationals again," Dynasty member Oliva Thompson said.
So the team was invited to go to the national competition last year in Memphis, but could not raise enough money to go.
The competition is in Daytona Beach, Florida, in March. Some of the best in the country will compete for the national title, and a grand prize.
If you'd like to help send these young ladies to the national competition, checks may be made payable to:
Lake Ridge HS Dynasty Step Team
101 North Day Miar Road
Mansfield, TX 76063
On Saturday, October 24, 2015, the TSTA held its first Minor League Step Camp at Desoto High School in Desoto, TX. The Steppers Camp was specificially designed for new teams and teams that do not have many resources. Teams from across the metroplex attended the 4 hour camp. Topics covered at the camp included: Precision and Synchronization, Complexity and Difficulty, Creativity, Transitions and Formations.
The TSTA Steppers Camp experience immersed Steppers in hands-on activities that provided step-masters, team captains and coaches with the building blocks to develop more complex routines. Steppers were given the opportunity to develop complex/difficult routines during the Complexity and Difficulty session and steppers also learned how to write themes that will enhance their competition performance.
On Saturday, July 11, 2015, the TSTA Board Members met to install new board members and appoint new directors to the organization. The Board also looked at the Organization's Strategic Plan and modified several components of the plan. The board tabled the discussion regarding expansion due to time restraints. Later a general meeting of all members was held to discuss the NSA Conference and proposed changes for the upcoming season.
The following represents the TSTA Board members and their positions.
Harold Cornwell, Board Chairman/President
Marvin Mitchell, Vice Chairman
Vernetta Burkhalter, Secretary
Lakendra Anderson, Treasurer
Demond Halsey, Member
Executive appointments by the Board of Directors
Lakendra Anderson, President/Executive Director
LaDacher Jackson, Director of Training & Development
Denise Rose, Asst Director of Training & Development
On Sunday, May 17, 2015 the Texas Step Team Association held its annual Awards Recognition Banquet where over 500 awards were given to students, coaches, schools, TSTA board members and executives who were recognized for high achievement during the 2014-15 stepping season.
Brooklyn Garrett, from Beckham Elementary (AISD), Brittany Given from Barbara Bush Middle School, (Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD) and Charlene Marvive, from LD Bell High School, (HEB ISD)won Academic Steppers of the Year U12, U14 and U19 respectively.
Sarai Gaucin from Thornton Elementary (AISD), Trinity Wells, from Oulsey Junior High and Kalen McFadden from LD Bell High School, (HEB ISD) won Stepper of the Year U12, U14 and U19 respectively.
The coaching staff of Goodman Elementary, Barbara Bush Middle School and Bowie High School were awarded Coach of the Year U12, U14, U19.
Demond Halsey, TSTA Director of Training and Development won the Executive of the Year Award.
The Most Improved Team Award went to Anderson Elementary, (AISD), John Horn High School, (Mesquite ISD) and Beckham Elementary (AISD).
Martin Weiss Elementary, (Dallas ISD), Barbara Bush Middle School, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD) and Rowlett High School, (Garland ISD) won the Theme of the Year Award.
The Most Outstanding Team Awards were awarded to The HYPE Divas, (Addison, TX), Barbara Bush Middle School, (Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD), Goodman Elementary, (AISD), Martin Weiss Elementary, (Dallas ISD), LD Bell High School, (HEB ISD) and Bowie High School, (AISD).
The Member Service Award was awarded to over 200 steppers, coaches, board members and executives.
Chris Caldwell, Demond Halsey and Lisa Yanigida were recognized for their contributions to the Texas Step Team Association and the Art of Stepping.
Garland ISD was awarded School District of the Year.
The District, State and National Winners were also recognized with individual awards for each member for their outstanding achievement.
Each year the Texas Step Team Association hosts a judging workshop for anyone who wants to judge at competitions during the current season. On Saturday, November 8, 2014 the Texas Step Team Association hosted its annual judging workshop for TSTA judges at Lake Highlands High School. These individuals have agreed to judge the TSTA competitions throughout the 2014-15 stepping season. Demond Halsey, TSTA Director of Training and Development detailed the changes that have been made to the scoring process for the 2014-15 season. Brandon Johnson stated "I was thinking about not coming but I am glad I did. Not only will I be eligible for the certification but I know exactly what to look for this season because so much has changed." Once judges have had the training they can become certified by judging 4 competitions. Certified judges are then eligible to judge at national competitions.
"This workshop gets better ever year. I feel more prepared than I did in the past years." stated Monica Smith. Halsey, who is also the Asst Director of Training and Development for the National Stepping Association said that the Silo Scoring system was pioneered by TSTA several years ago, and it has now been adopted by the NSA and is being used by stepping leagues across the country. Halsey stated that he chaired a national committee that revamped the TSTA score card so that it would be applicable to different stepping styles and elements across the country. It is the most comprehensive score card in the country. During the workshop 36 individuals were trained as judges for the 2014-15 stepping season.
On Saturday, November 2, 2013, several TSTA Member teams including Starrett Elementary, John Horn High School and other teams from across the DFW area participated in the H.Y.P.E Obesity Walk-a-Thon at Haltom High School. This helped our member teams satisfy 3 of the 24 required community service hours.
The purpose of this walk was to educate and to raise awareness about childhood obesity, in the efforts to increase daily exercise and eating healthier. Aspire – Haltom High School has collaborated with Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence Incorporated (H.Y.P.E), Texas Step Team Association, and Whatever It Takes Catering and Event Planning to strengthen students’ awareness about Childhood Obesity. “H.Y.P.E Inc. is an official Advocate of the President’s Challenge Program, and Aspire- Haltom High School has joined them to promote healthy living through their Buff Fit Clubs.
On Saturday, October 19, 2013, Arlington Lamar High School hosted the Texas Step Team Association’s 1st Annual Fall Step Camp. This was the largest Step Camp ever held in the State of Texas. There were over 180 attendees and 15 teams from across the State that attended the camp. The campers ranged from ages 5 to 17. Demond Halsey, TSTA’s Director of Training & Judging Protocol, had been preparing for this camp for over 3 years. He has been to several NSSA camps over the past 3 years as well as national competitions. Halsey said “I felt like we would be able to host a successful camp because of all the things that I had learned while helping with the National Camps that I have attended over the last few years. Lakisha Lias, sponsor at Irving Nimitz High School said “this camp was great. I loved it.” Chris McCall, sponsor at Huntsville High School stated that he was very impressed by what he saw throughout the day.
During the camp, students learned the skills necessary to compete at the highest level. Students attended 5 sessions and a leadership summit during the camp. Monique Booker, Coach of MA ‘at Steppers of Desoto facilitated the session on Theme Writing. She said “OMG they all had questions and they were really good questions and I answered every one of them. We asked several students what they thought about the camp. Janae H. (Bowie) stated that she thought the camp was going to be boring but it was a lot of fun and she learned a lot. Frankie H. (Le Mieux) said “I had so much fun and I got to meet a lot of new people.”
After speaking with numerous steppers, parents and sponsors and getting their reaction about the camp, I asked Chris Caldwell, TSTA Board President what made the camp so successful.
“From the start we have been committed to making everything we do in the organization about the kids and their needs. In particular, we made sure that the camp’s values and mission were congruent with our goal and then we looked to see if its activities matched both our goals and the stepper’s interests. You're looking for something educational but not simply an expansion of school. A day camp should be unique, with a wide range of activities that a stepper wouldn't otherwise have access to, it should get them up and moving and building new skills” says Caldwell.
Overall, it was a great camp. Look for more exciting things to come from TSTA this season.