The Golden Vikettes

Dancers showcase their talents and culture through a new majorette group


Photo by A. Johnson

Members of the Golden Vikettes practice in Crystal Woodruff’s classroom during Viking Hour.

Foster Neely

The Golden Vikettes are a new majorette group at Spartanburg High School. The group was formed by Dr. Crystal Woodruff to give an opportunity to talented dancers at SHS.

The history of majorettes goes back to the 1960s, when young black women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) performed their unique show at football game halftimes. The first group to perform synchronized dance live with a marching band were the “Golden Girls” of Alcorn State University, an HBCU in Lorman, Mississippi. The Golden Girls made their debut performance in 1968 at the Orange Blossom Classic football game against Florida A&M, while wearing golden boots and capes.

In an interview with Shawn Zachery on, the director of the Prairie View A&M University Black Foxes majorettes says that she appreciates the evolution of the dance style since its creation.

“I’ve watched this style of dancing grow from its original form, which included baton twirling, to what it’s become today. I was captivated by the showmanship, style, glamor and execution these teams exhibited,” Zachery said. “I continue to be extremely impressed and entertained by how the style has changed over the years.”

Majorette dancing is not only relevant to HBCUs. The dance style can also be seen at many high school halftime shows. Woodruff, a biology teacher, created the Golden Vikettes to showcase the culture and talent here at SHS.

“The Golden Vikettes are a majorette dance group. The majorette dance style is very unique. It is a mixture of stunting, marching and energetic fast clean movements.  The dancing style is rooted into the HBCU culture,” Woodruff said. “Former students at Spartanburg High have been asking for us to have a team for years. I took it on because there is a lot of talent on this campus, and I wanted to showcase the love of dance.”

Majorettes are often known for their baton twirling, but some majorette groups use other forms of entertainment. In the case of the Southern University Dancing Dolls, founded in 1969, the members didn’t twirl batons, but instead created their own signature move: the high kick. The high kick has been copied by many other majorette groups since then, and it has become an important part of majorette choreography.

Allison Johnson (9) participates in the Golden Vikettes and looks forward to practices.

“I wanted to join Golden Vikettes to perform during football season and meet new people. I love the Golden Vikettes practice because we always find a way to have fun,” Johnson said.