ORLANDO, Fla. — A team of Eastern Shore dancers enhanced their reputation on Jan. 27, when they won five first-place titles at the “Annihilation Stand Battle Dance Competition”. The Always Being Motivated (ABM) Dancing Divas are based in Cambridge, and include girls from around the Eastern Shore.
The team has traveled to regional competitions for several years. The girls are known for their appearance on the the Lifetime Network television show, “Bring It!”
The team is led by Rhonda Meekins and Jakia Deshields. But they aren’t the only ones who back the girls - in fact, the team enjoys a great deal of community support, and many family members accompanied them to Florida.
Rhonda Terese shared her impressions in a post on social media, saying, “Made it home safe. What an interesting weekend in Orlando, Florida with ABM Dancing Divas and the parents. Yes we went to Florida and came back with every win but one, five out of six. Shout out to my girls for doing an excellent job Saturday. We won first place walk thru minis, juniors ✅and seniors; and first place stand battle minis and juniors.”
The team is a squad of hip hop majorettes, who are ready not only to perform as a marching group, but also in what are known as stand battles.
Information from “Bring It!” explained the contest, saying, “The stand battle works like a single elimination bracket tournament. The teams draw numbers and are randomly paired together. Each pair take turns trying to out dance each other. The teams go back and forth until the judges determine that one team wins. This is the most intense of all the categories because while the dance sequences are choreographed, when they are used is decided on the fly. The captain must decide when to use what sequence based on the opposing team’s sequence.”
Teams take turns throwing eight counts back and forth, as they would say. Each eight count — a rhythmic grouping of eight beats — is known as a stand. This style of dance and competition is popular chiefly among African-American women and girls throughout the South.
It’s that back-and-forth challenge that leads to intense competition, according to Coach Diane Williams of the Dancing Dolls from Jackson, Miss. On her website pancocojams.blogspot.com, she says, “Exchanging an eight count is like two boxers in the ring throwing punches back and forth with each team trying to land a killer combination. In war it’s back and forth shootin’ at each other. It’s the same thing. The only difference is that we don’t do that — we throw stands.”
“We didn’t go that far to play,” Ms. said. “Thanks again to all the people who helped sponsor the dancers’ flight. I really appreciate it and we did not let you down. Country girls living city girls’ dreams!”
Odessa Todd responded, “Congratulations to you all. Be blessed and awesome job!”
About Being Motivated Dance team is a group of girls ages 6-17. They are avaliable for events and competitions. To contact team leaders, email firstname.lastname@example.org.