By M. Scott Morris
ABERDEEN – The 2013-14 version of Aberdeen High School Indoor Guard had a rare influx of guys.
Nine of the 19-member squad are male, so that created challenges and opportunities for the choreography.
“You normally wouldn’t have guys who volunteer to twirl flags,” said 18-year-old senior Samuel Garth. “With our guys, we like to look as manly as possible.”
Toni Reece, guard director, took that into account and decided the best way to show off her team’s talent was to teach them the tango.
Practices began in November. The AHS Bulldogs’ basketball team had control of the gym, so the guard met in the school’s Little Theatre.
“They were on a small stage at first,” said Hope Maloney, assistant director. “All of the kids would turn and walk out to stand on the very edge of the stage. They didn’t have much room.”
The tango involves stylized movements, and dancers often put on serious or aloof expressions. That proved tricky for good-natured high school students.
“We had to work on that,” said senior Andrew Parker, 18.
“It was hard for me because I like to smile,” added Le-Annsy Williams, a 17-year-old senior.
In some ways, the required look goes against the standard for flag corps groups.
“In color guard, you’re supposed to smile,” Maloney explained, “but we didn’t want that.”
Music was provided by Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows,” which gave the students a steady beat but a slow pace.
“With guard, a lot of times the music is fast and you move a lot more,” Maloney said. “We wanted to slow things down and make it more technical.”
Reece and Maloney choreographed the four-minute routine, with help from Halle Mims, a 2011 alumna of AHS, and 15-year-old sophomore Amyah Lee, who also was the team’s soloist.
Lee said color guard comes naturally to her, and she enjoyed showing what she and her teammates could do during winter guard competitions in Fulton and Tupelo.
“You think about going out there and having fun,” Lee said.
“Mostly, I think, Don’t drop your flag,” Williams said.
“And staying with the beat,” Parker said.
The winter guard season has come to an end, even though the students aren’t quite ready to let it go.
“I really want to perform for the school,” said Jaye Ward, a 19-year-old senior. “Just one more time for everybody.”
There was talk of convincing Reece to let them do the show for their fellow students.
And Aberdeen Indoor Guard members weren’t against trying old-fashioned bribery to get what they wanted.
“We should bring her a bear,” Lee said.
“Yeah,” Parker said. “We should bring her a big, old Teddy bear when we ask her.”