Malden High’s Afro-Caribbean Dance Team Is Back for the Year

The Afro-Caribbean Dance Team is leaping into the new year with new opportunities for the students of Malden High School. This new dance team is sure to surprise you with what they have planned for upcoming events.

Juliana Luong, a Malden High School Class of 2023 graduate, who managed the previous dance club, explained, “I started it in my freshman year but unfortunately it was put on hold due to Covid. It was back up and running in my senior year.”

In last year’s Pep Rally, they performed a dance battle involving two members of the team. They wore purge masks, signifying the battle between the blue mask and the red mask.

Faela Jasmin, one of the captains for the team, was in Luong’s dance club last year and decided to continue on with the community Luong had already created, but made it her own and incorporated her own cultures creating the Afro-Caribbean Dance Team. 

She said that last year she “initially joined the team accidentally, as I had forgotten to choose my Joy Block. However, I was delighted when I showed up and have been a proud member ever since.” This joy block was advised by Leanne DeRosa, who would help and cheer on the girls as they created choreography. 

This year, the leaders have put in lots of time to advertise the team and show it off to everyone that is interested. Christopher Mastrangelo, principal of Malden High School has said. 

“We have an Instagram and a linktree and we are putting up flyers all around the school,” the manager of the team, Alleela Perryman, said.

Many students have been intrigued by the advertisements and have signed up for the team. “I think it aligns with what we try to do which is give as many opportunities for as many students as we can…I strongly believe that when students get involved with activities in a school it gets them more connected to the school so now we go one step further and we honor the heritage and the culture of a lot of our students.”

So far, the team has many big plans for this year. They’re planning on performing at the Pep Rally as well as Junior Varieties but their main goal is “for the team…to be recognized as a sport at this school. This recognition will allow us to take part in dance competitions,” explained Jasmin. 

The team already has its goals set and has been consistently practicing for the Pep Rally. Perryman stated she is “so excited for this year. The music and choreography is amazing and the girls are really excited to get out there and dance.”

Mastrangelo has also shown his immense support for this team as when they first asked he said, “What do they say in those really cheesy romantic movies? Yes, yes, yes, yes 1000x yes! They’ve always done their Junior Varieties routine, I think making it a formal club is exactly what we needed.” 

The dance team has shown how welcoming and supportive they are to each of their members. 

“I really want to make dance an outlet for people in this school as well as myself,” explained Waina Coles, another captain of the team who is also a Blue and Gold reporter. She continued, “Not everyone enjoys steps or cheer and some prefer just traditional dancing and I believe they should have that opportunity,” 

Mastrangelo has loved every bit of the dance teams throughout the years and the Afro-Caribbean Dance Team is no exception. 

 He mentioned, “We’ve all seen them for years perform at Junior Varieties and other events…it’s a good way to get out to the community how great our students really are. Another thing I love most about all of the dance teams in Malden High School is that they are completely student-run. They choose choreography, they choose the music, they choose their outfits, we have an advisor that just oversees it.”

The Afro-Caribbean Dance Team is one to look forward to for the next upcoming events at Malden High School. As they continue to rehearse their choreography they’ll be sure to blow everyone away at the Pep Rally.

Flyers promoting the Afro-Caribbean dance team. GABRIELA PARINI CORDOVA

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