The Texas State University Strutters dance team is the largest college dance team in the United States. Founded in 1960, the Stutters will celebrate their 60-year anniversary this school year. Sixty years of many NBA and NFL halftimes, performances in 26 countries, three presidential inaugurations, two Macy’s Thanksgiving parades and even a commercial.
The Texas State Strutters have achieved great honors and received global recognition as a dance team. But the 2019-2020 team represents something more. After alumnae interviews, tryouts in front of her team, votes by team members and approval from the director, Ravyn Ammons was best qualified to be head captain of the Strutters. Ammons made history being the Stutter’s first black head captain.
Texas State University is arguably one of the most diverse campuses in Texas. To come from a team that was not integrated until 1963 and predominantly white the first 29 years of existence, a first black head captain is deserving, and quite frankly, long overdue.
Stutters head captain Ammons is a senior studying journalism with a minor in music. She hopes to use her degree to pursue music journalism.
Ammons started dancing rather late compared to her peers, but quickly progressed to be the best in all of her teams. She joined high school drill team her sophomore year. By junior year, she became an officer and by senior year, was captain of her team.
“When my [high school] director was trying to guide me to try out for Strutters, I went on the university athletics page to look at the roster for the Strutters … and I saw, like, three black girls. And I was like okay, this is the largest collegiate dance team in the United States, and there was only three black girls and a 100 people on the team,” said Ammons.
Ammons says she has seen the team grow more diverse over the years.
“I was really nervous about trying out just because of the whole lack of diversity, but everybody has been so open and welcoming and we have become more and more diverse … I’ve never had to pretend to be someone I’m not, I can be my crazy self and everyone loves me for who I am,” said Ammons.
Ammons takes on a long list of duties as head captain for the 60-year anniversary. She is in charge of getting together choreography for all routines, teaching and cleaning the dances, setting formations, communicating with costume and uniform designers, communicating with alumnae, and at the right-hand of the director, oversees all Strutter activity and decisions.
To have a black head captain of one of the oldest, largest and most influential dance teams in America shows Texas State’s advancements in diversity. Ammons is an inspiration to young dancers all over America as she advocates to never give up, embrace your beauty and keep on dancing.
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