Holmes helps dance team make hip hop history at The Hill

Dance sponsor Kerry Matthews said having strength and height is an advantage in hip hop. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, Mark Holmes can easily lift his teammates, like Kennedi Evans as pictured here.

Max Lankford, Staff Writer

Hip hop routines at The Hill will never be the same, now that the dance team has a trick up their sleeve.

“Most teams at national level have at least one guy on their team,” sponsor Kerry Matthews said. “Having a guy makes us more competitive, and we stand out at a state level.”

Sophomore Mark Holmes is helping the dance team make history as its first ever boy dancer.

“Being the first boy on the dance team is a feeling that I cannot bring myself to explain,” Holmes said. “In the moment, it’s just like another day, but when we perform, it’s like wow! I am really making history.”

Holmes, a strong safety and backup quarterback for the Mustangs, said he wanted to be on the dance team because he’s always moving.

“I dance 24/7 anywhere at any given time, at home, football, classrooms, lunch,” he said. “It just never stops.”

Encouraged by his mom, Holmes has been entertaining others with his dance moves for as long as he can remember.

“I used to go to the barber shop and get paid to dance, when I was around 8 or 9,” he said.

Since officially joining the dance team in mid-November – he had to wait until football season was over – Holmes has heard a few comments from classmates about being the only boy.

“People hassled me about being on the dance team,” he said. “Some were stereotypes, but most of them were things like ‘You can make a move on your teammates’ or ‘You just like doing dance so you can be close with all of them.’ But I paid it no mind. I know my purpose and why I’m there.”

As for the girls, Holmes said they have welcomed him.

“The girls on the team all reacted the same,” he said. “They were all excited that I was going to join, which made me 10 times more confident about actually following through with it.”

To senior Emma Freeze, Holmes is just another teammate.

“It doesn’t affect our attitudes or practices,” she said. “We treat him like just another team member.”

With or without Holmes, Freeze said the goal for competitions is “Wins. Point. Blank. Period.”

That’s also Matthews’ goal, which the 6-foot-2 Holmes can help with when it comes to hip hop’s stunts and tricks.

“Having strength and height is an advantage in hip hop,” Matthews said. “I hope to win at state championships again, but I am super excited to take a unique routine to state. I hope to make national finals, because we are moving up to large varsity.” 

Holmes brings an edge to a well-rounded team, coached by Chrissy Rodefer, that’s already won 11 state championships in hip hop and pom and been in the Top 10 at Nationals for the past three years.

“The dance team was already beyond great without me, and I feel like I just add on to it,” Holmes said. “I feel pretty confident about winning because of the way they built the foundation of the program. I think with the dance team having me, we bring an extra spice that other teams can’t imagine having.”

They’ll find out soon. The dance team competes at state Dec. 13 in Jackson.