If you guessed "dance team" you're warm, if you guessed "HBCU dance team" you're even warmer. If you guessed SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY DANCING DOLL then you're on FIRE. And right here is a good a time as any to tell you a little story.
For those who don't know, Southern University Baton Rouge was my first college experience before changing my mind later to pursue a fashion degree in Los Angeles. While at Southern, I was pretty involved, I ran for Miss Freshman (I didn't win) and I tried out for the Dancing Dolls (I was unsuccessful). In my mind, a spot on the dance team would be a shoe in for me since my mother once held a spot on the exact same team (under the tutelage of Ms. Gracie Perkins) I had a bit of a swollen head when I went in to audition because I felt like this was going to be like a legacy thing. Only (shock!) I didn't make the team and no boo hoos because everything happens for a reason.
I lost my mother earlier in 2016, but I can't help but think that she would have gotten a kick out of this. She would have told me how talented and creative I was (because duh... what mother doesn't think that about their offspring? plus she always told me that) then she would have laughed and thought it was all a hoot. The Mr. kept telling me how much I looked like her on this shoot.
I miss her.
But honestly speaking, I was kinda having a little too much fun wearing my bootleg dance leotard, shiny tights and white gloves while out taking these pics. Real talk, lol. If you can't join 'em, then learn how to sew and pretend to be them on Halloween right? I have nothing but respect for those girls and the skill and showmanship they display. They make it look easy (its not).
Now, how did I make my leotard? Well first I did a good amount of research by Googling pics and video like this and this. Then I purchased 3 short sleeved blue t-shirts from the Dollar Tree ($3) used some leftover scrap sequin fabric (from my New Orleans Saints Dress) and some random gold trim pieces I had in my trim drawer for the choker, headband and leotard embellishment. If you follow me and my stories on Instagram then you already saw how I kinda sorta took you through my process. You've seen the gloves before HERE. I used my recent swimsuit pattern to draft my leotard and added long sleeves. I didn't use any elastic, I just relied on the stretch from the t-shirts and just made sure the fit was just snug enough. I wasn't sure this would even work before I started it, but it did and I'm pleased. Shout out to the Mr. for taking these pics and putting up with my shenanigans.
Photos by Ron Ward
My mother, Ms. Ronnie, 2nd from right, Southern University Dancing Doll, circa 1970