The Crown Jewels are making moves through majorette

The Crown Jewels team spread awareness when performing at football games and other events at Georgia State. Photo Submitted by Crown Jewels

Adorned in sequin costumes and matching white gloves, the Crown Jewels are dancing their way into history. 

The Crown Jewels, founded by Danielle Holmes, are the first and only majorette dance team at Georgia State. 

Holmes, an alumna who received a master’s degree in business administration at Georgia State, wanted to find a way to bring this richly Southern dance style to her university. 

Majorette dancing originated as a carnival dance from Rhineland Germany, where dancers would twirl batons and strictly move their arms in an 8-count tempo.

Once this style reached the U.S, it was embraced by the South and transformed into the high-energy “hip-hop majorette” style seen today. 

Holmes began dancing in high school, where her love for majorette dance blossomed. After graduating, Holmes wanted to carry on with her passion and bring it to her college community. 

Many historically Black colleges showcase majorette dancing. The style has many different dance elements, including technical ballet, West African, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop choreography. 

The style utilizes call and response, as found in African American spirituals. 

The choreography and technical movements that majorette dancers perform can be seen as unusual, but that’s what makes it unique. 

Since she could not attend a HBCU, Holmes wanted to create a majorette dancing opportunity for herself and other students. That motivation drove the creation of the Crown Jewels.

“[Georgia State] being one of the fastest-growing diverse universities, it was kind of a no-brainer to bring this style of dance because many students are familiar with it and want to be a part of it,” Holmes said. 

The team consists of 21 dancers who train under president and coach Kamaria Richards. Under her coaching, the team has continued to practice and perform during the pandemic safely.

“We have definitely been still trying to find a way to make sure that we’re prepared for this season, and that when it does come to game time, even though it was kind of in limbo, we’ll be prepared,” Richards said.

The Crown Jewels’ dancers continue to strengthen and showcase their skills while following COVID-19 precautions. They are determined to support Georgia State’s athletic and spirit programs. 

“I will say the only difference is that we have been practicing outdoors like in parks,” Richards said. “But other than that, we’ve not changed our practices and are getting ready for the season.” 

Going forward, the Crown Jewels hope to become more well known on campus and to showcase Georgia State’s diversity. 

“It will be a great opportunity for Georgia State, as a non-HBCU, to start to integrate some of this culture and accept it,” Richards said. “It’ll bring a lot of students here and it will definitely make a lot of our students feel at home.”

Richards believes having majorette dance at Georgia State lets students experience something they would have experienced had they gone to a HBCU.

Current junior and co-captain Rodnise Cinemulus emphasized the incredible sisterhood of the Crown Jewels. She’s happy to be a part of a team that focuses on spreading positivity and awareness. 

“[The Crown Jewels] teach me to make sure that we welcome women of all shapes and sizes as long as you love to dance,” Cinemulus said.