On the morning of Jan. 31, the TJC Apache Belles and thirty young girls gathered together in a circle on the floor for a devotional and prayer.
These girls, between the ages of 4 and 12, joined the Belles to learn a dance routine to perform at the men’s basketball game, which was later that afternoon.
After a short welcome from Ruth Flynn, director and choreographer of the Belles, the Belles and Belle Babes split into three groups to learn their own unique routines.
The routines included fun props such as floats and feather boas.
During this time, the Belles introduced stretching exercises and games in order to better acquaint themselves with the excited young girls.
“It’s fun to work with the little girls because they are silly,” Apache Belle Lauren Marquart said.
The Belles feel that this is a community outreach, as well as a time to encourage younger generations to continue in the path of dancing and one day become Belles.
“We want Belle Babes to bring young girls onto our campus, have them go through the program and then ultimately one day become part of our organization,” Flynn said.
Although the turnout this spring was not as high as in the past Flynn did not seem too worried about it.
“Normally we have around 60 girls register, and today we only have 30. I think it’s just the economy and how this is more of a luxury item to most parents,” Flynn said.
Being a part of the Belle program is one of the many ways to be a part of the campus.
“We all just really love to dance, and it’s a different level of dancing than when we were in high school,” Marquart said.
Stephanie Lassanske, mother and Belle alumni, says she has her daughter in Belle Babes because she thinks it is a good way to incorporate loyalty, discipline and individuality into her daughter’s life while exposing her to a healthy activity.
“I think now the girls are closer than when I was in Belles because they live together in Ornelas now,” Lassanske said.
The Belle Babes is a fundraiser for the Belles program to help cover the cost of things such as costumes, equipment and the Spring Show.
The Spring Show is a production the Belles put on each year that incorporates a theme, music, skill, technique, choreography, costuming and tradition.
The theme this year is “From Here to There… From Now to Then” to reflect that this is the Belles 60th anniversary.
The Spring Show is April 2-4 and will be held in Wise Auditorium.
Tickets for the Grand Dress Rehearsal on April 2 are $5 each and tickets are $10 for Friday and Saturday evening performance on April 3 and 4.
A special matinee performance will be Saturday, April 4 and tickets are $5.
TJC faculty and students get in free, and there is free admission for senior citizens for the Saturday matinee.
For more information about the TJC Apache Belles, the Belle Babe program, or the Belle Spring Show, you may contact Ruth Flynn at 903-510-2244 or visit www.apachebelles.com.