February 15, 1991 |
Listen up everybody, it's time to rock With a brand new group called the Onyx Hip-Hop It's really quite simple, it's easy to do Listen up, everybody, we're about to . . . The sounds carried outside the double metal doors of the West End Community Center in Chester - the pounding thump of feet, the harsh bark of voices. Inside the aging brick building last week, on scarred wooden floors surrounded by punched-out walls, the practice session had begun. As a half-dozen boys chanted and strutted in the back of the room, 13 girls, their pigtails bound in bright barrettes, stomped and spun, slid and shuffled, dipped and dived.
April 7, 2013 |
SHORTLY BEFORE Gregory Scott was killed in February, he asked a few close friends to help him revive the Gold Coast Buccaneers, a drill team that he had been part of since the 1960s. Scott, 55, wanted the West Philadelphia group to return to its glory days when it would literally stomp the competition to shame. But before the group could really come together, Scott was gunned down outside his West Philadelphia home by his cousin James Scott III and another man, James Hiller, police say. Now the group is trying to move forward without the man affectionately known as "Chops," whom they considered the glue of the Buccaneers.
March 21, 2004 |
As Aschenel Hall raised her arms in a sweeping arch over her head to demonstrate a dance move, the gold charm around her neck reflected a flash of light. The charm moved with Hall, 17, as she directed the members of the New Imperial Marvalettes Drill Team. On the charm was the engraved face of Cheryl Marie Williams Harden, Hall's grandmother, Marvalettes codirector and - since a recent Saturday morning - a murder victim. "She was the energy of our drill team. She raised me," Hall said of the woman who became mother to two of four grandchildren when Jocelyn Marie Harden, Cheryl Harden's only child, was killed in 1992.
November 19, 2013 |
THE CAMDEN Sophisticated Sisters (CSS) drill team really has been kicking it lately. Just this year alone, CSS members delivered high-energy performances on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," "Good Morning America" and the "Steve Harvey Show. " Stop for a second and let that sink in. These aren't pros. I'm talking about kids, some barely as high as my knee. They live in one of the roughest cities in America and practice in an abandoned water tower. Yet, the Sophisticated Sisters drill team is beating the stereotypes - about their hometown and about kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
March 22, 1990 |
They march like Marines and "get down" like limber dancers on a Janet Jackson video. Proud and disciplined, the Conestoga Angels, a high-stepping drill team with precise timing pushed by steady drumbeats, did the seemingly impossible one recent night. They quickly captured the attention of about 700 adolescents who'd grown rowdy after sitting too long. Teacher after teacher begged, threatened and pleaded with the crowd at Shoemaker Middle School, at 53d and Media Streets, to quiet down and listen to other acts performing at the school's annual talent show.
April 15, 2013 |
The girls on the crowded stage at the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County looked tense and frustrated as they tried to replicate the complicated dance moves members of the Camden Sophisticated Sisters drill team were demonstrating. About 100 girls ages 3 to 18 had come Saturday to audition for the team, which has been featured on CNN and NBC as a bright spot in a troubled city. Tawanda "Wa-Wa" Jones, who founded the team 26 years ago, had not let the prospective members in on a little secret: Almost all would get in. "This is not about the trophies," Jones said as she supervised from below the stage.
May 19, 1994 |
Nine months a year, four or more days a week, the rhythmic cadence of drums sounds out from a hillside overlooking the Ruth L. Bennett Homes public- housing development, broadcasting a toe-tapping message of pride to the community. Starting at 5 p.m. on most weekdays and on many weekends, the 38 members of the Bennett High Steppers drill team strut their stuff in a parking lot sandwiched between the Chester High School athletic field and the Bennett Homes. Marching skillfully to the complex beat, they perfect their drill routines under the watchful eyes of adult mentors.
June 14, 1990 |
Arthur Jerome Marks, 37, who along with his wife founded a popular West Philadelphia drill team, the Conestoga Angels, died Saturday at his home. According to his wife, Celestine, Mr. Marks was despondent because he had been unable to find steady work since he was laid off from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in November. She said he committed suicide. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Marks attended Most Precious Blood elementary school and graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1970.
May 3, 2013 |
TAWANDA "WAWA" Jones would always joke that the drill team she founded, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters (CSS), was ready to make its Hollywood debut. On Tuesday, that aspirational joke became reality when the CSS girls taught the celebs how it was done on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars. " The eight ladies from South Jersey performed a stunning number to Beyonce 's "Get Me Bodied. " To see a video of their performance, go to ph.ly/CamdenDWTS. Jones still can't believe her troupe made it to prime time.
October 29, 1996 |
The drumbeat's the heartbeat. Everyone knows. Everyone goes: First there're Willie and Ollie Days, reed-tall and owl-serious, banging drumsticks on drumheads as they stride out their mother's back kitchen door to the grassy place between two sealed-up and forsaken buildings where it all goes down. The pied pipers of percussion. Soon the other Passyunk drill-team drummers join them, grinning, nodding, bouncing body-moving rhythms off those sad, old walls. Next come the girls - the steppers - summoned by the boom-boom-boom.