The Apache Belles, like many other on-campus organizations, are experiencing challenges as they continue to uphold 73 years of excellence, according to Jasilyn Schaefer, the director of the Apache Belles. However, despite the limitations that have come with the pandemic, Chloe Walker, a sophomore on the 73rd line of the Apache Belles from Robinson, Texas, said “the Belles are still practicing every day and working just as hard.”
In compliance with TJC’s COVID-19 guidelines, Walker said, the Belles have been practicing with masks. For additional cautionary measures, the Belles do not link arms as they normally do to practice kick routines, which, according to Walker, is “more difficult but it makes us stronger.”
Walker also said that not performing has taken a toll on the team.
“It’s strange not having football season in the fall and everyone misses the performances,” Walker said. She added the rest of the Belles are putting their best foot forward to stay positive and hopeful that soon they will get to perform again.
In regards to living on campus, Walker said it is very different from last year. There are fewer people outside on campus and in the cafeteria, a place where, according to Walker, lots of people would always gather.
Schaefer said that the team is continuing their daily rehearsals to prepare for both spring football and basketball season. Sometimes the team rehearses on the football field and other times, they rehearse in smaller groups in the studio, she said. “The biggest change,” Schaefer said, “is all the forethought that goes into the schedule and making sure every group within our organization gets the practice, rehearsal and class time needed to keep our entire team on the same page.”
Schaefer also said the Belles are required to have the same amount of workouts and study halls throughout the week. Study halls, she said, are taking place via Zoom and workouts are done either in smaller groups or individually in the Belles’ studio.
In regards to performances, the Belles have yet to have an opportunity.
“That’s not to say that the Apache Belles haven’t been invited to perform at various events and venues,” Schaefer said. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, TJC is not permitting travel outside of the TJC district at this time, “so we have had to decline the invitation to perform if it requires travel.”
In the midst of all the change, Walker said Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands and endures forever,” reminds her to keep going and work hard no matter the circumstances.