2016-2017 Lindbergh Flyerettes
About the Team
The Lindbergh Flyerettes Dance Team has built a legacy of excellence since 1969. While a staple at Lindbergh sporting events, the team is also nationally recognized. In addition to great dance talent, each Flyerette upholds a high standard of leadership, community service, and academic success.
History of the Lindbergh Flyerettes
Written by Mrs. Yvonne Cole, original coach of the Lindbergh Dance Team
The Lindbergh Pom-Pon Squad was founded in the Spring of 1969 through the efforts of a young lady named Karen McNeil. She attended an away basketball game and was impressed by the team that performed during halftime. She came back to Lindbergh and started to get the ball rolling. It was the middle of the year, so school sponsorship was not available. The group was originally sponsored by the Kirkwood YMCA.
By May 1969, the team had acquired two Lindbergh teachers (Ms. Yvonne Etienne-Cole and Ms. Sandra Webb-Snodgrass) to sponsor the team, so the Flyerettes received permission to perform at school functions during the 1969-1970 school year. When the organization was formally recognized, 100 girls decided to join. There were no tryouts, so everyone was permitted to join the team (some had dance experience, some had none; some were coordinated, some were not; some had rhythm, some did not). Needless to say, it was quite a heterogeneous group.
At that time, all of the choreography was done by a representative from the YMCA. She made up all of the routines and then the sponsors went to the band director and obtained the music. As you might imagine, the two did not always coincide. There was one football game where the band finished playing before the routine was complete – can you imagine a kick line with no music?
Each game that followed the first one was a unique experience. The team found new ways to mess up or give the crowd more fuel for their ridicule. There was always a different number of performers at each game because more people would drop out each week; we never knew from day to day how many members we had.
Finally, the end of the football season came. We had gotten used to being called the “Marching Bulldogs” and the “64 ugliest girls in the school,” but we had not gotten used to the laughter of the crowd. Our numbers dwindled to 30. So, in order to preserve our sanity and make use of what little talent we had, we divided the girls into two performing groups of 16 and 14. The smaller numbers were easier to teach and polish.
Our first tryouts were held in the Spring of 1970, and we had 50 girls participate. From that group, we chose 24 members and started the uphill climb to gain respect. However, this commodity was quite elusive because the old labels were hard to shake. Nevertheless, the girls kept plugging away and finally, after about four years, the people stopped laughing, and actually started watching our performances!
In the mid 1970s, the Lindbergh Pom Squad joined together with several other high school teams (Clayton, Fox, Cleveland, McCluer, Southwest, Roosevelt, and South County Tech) to form the Metropolitan Area Pom Pon Association (now Missouri Dance Team Association). The purpose of the organization was to meet, share ideas, assist with problems, and help each other improve our teams.
In 1977, MAPA organized the first city-wide high school pom-pon contest. Lindbergh entered this contest and placed fourth. We continued to compete, but first place eluded us. However, by the start of the 1980s, we began to increase our creativity and improve our precision, so by the spring of 1980, we took first place in that contest. As a matter of fact, the Lindbergh Flyerettes took first place in that contest for the entire decade!
As the decade of the eighties wore on, our parents became a more integral part of our program. They were involved in making props, designing costumes, and helping with travel plans. They became an invaluable resource to our successful program and have continued to be over the years.
The 1980s also saw the team branch out to other states for competition – Hawaii, Texas, and Florida. These expansions created the need for additional funds, so we saw the beginnings of new team traditions. The first of these was the Lindbergh Invitational, which was held in December of 1980. There were 19 teams in attendance at that first event. Now, it is one of the hallmark contests in the state of Missouri, which attracts over 80 teams from around the state.
In the summer of 1981, the team held its first pom pon camp for little girls. It was a way of creating interest in the program from a very young age in the hopes that some of these young dancers would find their way onto our team when they reached high school age. That first camp had 43 little girls participate – now they come in the hundreds to learn from the talented ladies on our dance team.
In 1989, our team traveled to Florida to participate in the National Dance Team Championship sponsored by the Universal Dance Association. It took us several years of participating in this event to reach the same high performance level of the teams that came to this event. In 1992, we took our schoolroom chair routine to The Jackson 5's "ABC" and a kick routine to “La Cage Aux Folles” and headed south. There were 24 teams in the prop category and 22 teams in the high kick category, but we managed to earn 2nd place in both routines! We had always emphasized to our girls, “if you believe it, you can achieve it.” We wanted them always to strive to conquer any challenge placed before them and to give it their best effort. These were skills that would serve them well throughout their lives.
During the 1990s, our teams continued to excel in the areas of pom, dance, and prop. We consistently won awards for our creativity in the use of large props in a variety of ways. Through our prop routines, we took our audiences to a diner, a toy store, a 10 foot telephone, and even to New York! We were known for not only our dancing ability but our ability to take the audience on two-minute journeys to new and exciting places.
The program has continued to excel throughout the 21st century. The traditions of excellence and creativity have continued to flourish with each new team and each new team member. This is a program that started with struggles and ridicule and has developed into one that has the respect of not only their school, but of teams and coaches throughout the state of Missouri and beyond. It is a program that teaches its members the value of hard work and instills in them the desire to meet challenges head on and develop ways to conquer them. It is a program that has persisted since 1969 and moves into a future that continues to challenge its members to “be the best that they can be!"
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