Texas A&M’s new majorette dance team Maroon Prestige made their debut at this year’s Fusion Fiesta. Afterward, the team’s performance was posted on social media, gaining hundreds of likes and shares from supporters.
Having grown up in Atlanta, Georgia, business sophomore and Maroon Prestige founder Raia Smith noticed something was missing on campus. She took to the task of putting the dance group together, making connections with others that shared her same passion for the majorette-style of dance.
“When I realized that TAMU didn’t have a majorette dance team, I felt like I should bring it here for those who wouldn’t experience that or were unexposed to it,” Smith said. “I didn’t know many people around campus, so I pretty much had to figure out most of it on my own.”
When it came to finding a name for her dance group, Smith looked for something that represented both the university and the image of the team she dreamt of.
“Texas A&M is a very prestigious school, and we all bleed maroon,” Smith said. “Maroon Prestige was the perfect combination of school spirit and regality.”
With a background in ballet, gymnastics, cheer and choreography, Smith turned to performances by Southern University’s dance team, Dancing Dolls, as inspiration for what she wanted the team’s first performance to look like. From there, Maroon Prestige went to work on preparing for their debut.
“From choreographing the performance, to picking and mixing the music on my laptop, getting a logo, collecting dues for uniforms and so on, I really surprised myself in seeing what all I could accomplish,” Smith said. “My team and I even ironed on our own labels onto our outfits and created a promo video. We practiced three times a week and every day the week of the performance to make sure we were ready.”
Prior to their first performance, marketing sophomore and team manager Tierra Robinson-Jones said although the team was nervous, they were sure everything would go as smoothly as they had prayed it would.
After performing in front of a crowd for the very first time, Smith described the experience as a “proud mom moment.”
“I was in awe of how ecstatic the girls were that they did great on their first performance,” Smith said. “Seeing everyone smiling, hugging and congratulating each other was so surreal to me and the greatest thing to come out of me creating this team.”
Since the initial video of the team’s performance was posted, Jones said the team has received countless messages of support from campus and the community.
“We’ve gotten a lot of emails and messages about people wanting to join our group,” Jones said. “We are encouraging everyone who wants to join and meet new people. It doesn’t matter what gender or race, we accept everyone.”
With the amount of support the team has received, Smith said she is excited to push Maroon Prestige to influence even more audiences on campus.
“I’ve learned that I’m even more passionate about providing opportunities than I am just about dance,” Smith said. “The impact dance has is what I’m most moved by. The team’s excitement has pushed me to make Maroon Prestige the most influential it can be and to push it to its full potential.”
Smith has big plans for Maroon Prestige to perform in the future and said she hopes to make the team a household Aggie name.
“We really hope to be a part of some parades and halftime shows for different sports,” Smith said. “But our ultimate goal is to make it to Kyle Field. As of right now, we have an upcoming performance at an event in January.”
The main mission of Maroon Prestige is to promote the culture that majorette dance teams are known around the country for, Smith said. One of her goals is to see this dance team continue to perform even after her time at A&M ends.
“Maroon Prestige’s purpose is to influence others to believe in inclusivity and diversity,” Smith said. “We want others to feel confident in who they are and feel safe expressing the culture that comes with their identity.”