It takes a tough man to play defensive tackle. It takes a tall man to play center. It takes a quick man to play shortstop. And, according to senior Terry Cao, "it takes a real man to be a Diva Dancer.”
Cao and senior Ryan Brown are the newest members of Blair's Diva Dancers. Kristen Lacovaro, or as the back of her Diva Dancers t-shirt reads, "Evyl Royal Diva,” has had to get used to addressing a group of both genders for the first time since she began coaching the Divas two years ago for their inaugural season.
Shakin' it fast
The duo's journey to divahood began last year when Brown was inspired by the involvement of boys on the cheerleading team. He has always loved dancing and says that people told him he'd "be a good diva.” So Brown recruited his friend Cao to try out for the team and add some testosterone to the mix.
Both boys admit to having been a little nervous for the tryouts. "We didn't know what to expect,” says Cao. "We had to learn part of this dance in two days and then show them what we could do.”
Cao is not ashamed to admit that he did have a few solo practice sessions in his room before the big audition. "My sister would walk by my room and see me dancing and give me a weird look,” he says with a grin.
The practice paid off during the audition. Lacovaro explains that she not only looks for good dancers during tryouts but also for "who has diva style.”
Lacovaro says that she picked up on the boys' dancing abilities and thought the boys' moves would complement the rest of the group's. "I've wanted guys since the beginning,” says Lacovaro. "And these boys had it.” She extended them an official invitation to join the Diva Dancers, and the boys gladly accepted.
Cao, who is recognized around school for his break dancing abilities, is adjusting to a new type of attention. "Now people come up to me and say ‘Hey you're a diva!' I have to correct them,” he says. "‘It's divo.'”
The guys were not the only ones excited about being the first males to ever join the group. "I was really happy, because they're really cute,” states junior Diva Constance Teage. "They're good dancers, too,” she adds.
Brittany Ruffin, a sophomore Diva, echoes Teage's enthusiasm. "I love having guys there. They add their own spunk and flavor to the group,” she says.
Lacovaro says that the exhilaration surrounding the arrival of the guys on the team is unanimous. "All the girls are so happy they're here,” she says with a smile of her own. "The guys just click with the girls.”
We are family
Brown was initially a little concerned about fitting into such a tight-knit, established group. "I used to be nervous when I walked in for a meeting or practice and it was me and a room full of girls,” he admits. "But they act like I'm part of the family. They treated me like regular diva.”
Cao concurs that it was relatively easy to be accepted socially within the Divas. "We crack jokes and talk. There is a lot of bonding,” he says. "They are really great people.”
Teage says that the Diva Dancers are a very close group, but were more than willing to accept their new members. "It's like a sisterhood,” she declares, "but now with guys.”
The close bond of the group is what Lacovaro says attracts people to the Diva Dancers. "What we have is an extended family. A community,” she says. "People see that and that's what people desire.”
The boys say that have already learned a lot from being a part of this camaraderie. They've found that although there is plenty of fun and games within the group, it takes a lot to be a Diva. "It is really hard to get the dances down perfectly,” says Brown.
"I respected them before, but now I have a higher level of respect since I found out how hard it is to learn the routines,” acknowledges Cao.
He has also discovered some more of life's hidden truths through joining the Divas. "Girls are really flexible,” he says with amazement.
Despite the encouragement and support from fellow dancers and many of the boys' friends, there are still a few people who give the pioneer divos a hard time. Both boys said that they have taken their fair share of flack for being part of a team that has traditionally been all female. "They say, ‘Look, he's a girl,'” says Cao.
But despite the occasional jeering, Brown and Cao maintain that being a divo is nothing to be ashamed of. "Don't knock it ‘til you try it,” Brown advises.
Lacovaro sees the boys' ability to ignore criticism and put their pride on the line as commendable. "I'm amazed at the comfort level these guys have,” she says with admiration. "I see them doing the dance in the halls. They don't care what other people think and that shows maturity. I'm very impressed with them.”
Juliana Stevenson. Juliana Stevenson is currently enrolled as a senior in the Communication Arts Program at Blair. She is excited about her first year as a features editor on Silver Chips and has been interested in writing since her years at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, … More »