By JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
Baton twirling is sometimes not considered a sport, but it offers the same benefits of any team sport, said Melissa Cline.
“Twirlers of all ages benefit from baton twirling because it teaches life skills: teamwork and good sportsmanship, time-management and goal-setting skills, self-confidence and positive self-esteem,” Melissa said. “Those skills support them throughout their lives; in school and college, as they interview for scholarships or jobs, and as they make professional presentations later in life.”
Cline, along with fellow nationally certified Professional Baton Twirling Coach Andrea Sloan, have announced the expansion of their majorette group. The team formerly known as the Gilbert Majorettes are now the Mingo Majorette and Dance Academy.
The team has a private studio in the Gilbert Municipal Complex.
“We are now expanding our program county wide and accepting girls from all areas ranging in age 4-18,” Melissa said. “We are so excited, we have so many upcoming things planned for our girls.”
Melissa said the program would help girls connect across the county.
“We truly feel that with the high school consolidation this will give girls an opportunity to meet and become friends with their future class mates,” she said.
Melissa and Andrea are offering spring classes to give girls with experience a chance to learn new tricks, twirls, and tosses as well as give girls with no experience a chance to learn the basics. Those classes will be held Thursdays in April and May at 5 p.m. The cost is $5 per student. Private lessons are available for $15 per hour.
Melissa explained that being a majorette is more than looking pretty.
“Twirling is a great activity for young children because it helps them develop spatial awareness, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination,” she said. “Children also develop strength, flexibility and stamina, as well as poise and a positive body image, by participating in the sport of baton twirling.”
A camp is scheduled for April 14 featuring the University of Kentucky Sweetheart Majorettes. The instructors will be UK Coach Jenni Webb and UK Majorette Captain Tara Dauer. The cost is $50 which includes camp fee, lunch, t-shirt, and a 5x7 photo with a UK Twirler. Students must supply their own baton and all fees and forms must be returned my March 30. Andrea and Melissa hope the camp will become an annual event.
In May, the Mingo Majorettes will be holding sign-ups for the upcoming fall season.
Students will be placed in their fall groups by grade level: The Tiny Tots - pre-K and Kindergarten; the Baton Babes - first and second; The Beauties - third and fourth; The Saliorettes - fourth through sixth; The Junior Mountainettes - seventh and eighth; and the Senior Mountainettes ninth through twelfth. Girls will be performing at various parades, festivals, little league and middle school ballgames, and competitions.
“Our goal for this program is for our students to be competitive on not just a state level but nationally as well,” Melissa said. “We are so excited for a new year and a new program and hope to meet many new students from all of Mingo County.”
For more information contact email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-688-6084 or 304-664-9817. The group also has a Facebook account, listed as Mingo Majorettes.