SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman is hoping to change the lives of the youth in the Alamo City through majorette dancing. It is a historical Black college or university style of dancing that changed her life in many ways.
Haddesah Jones, 24, who is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, decided to bring her own style of the dance to San Antonio.
“They have this kind of dance in Texas,” Jones said. “The original style was with baton twirlers. It has since been tweaked to be hip-hop majorette now. It’s a lot of dance moves and a lot of stunts. It is pretty difficult because you have to be flexible.”
In March 2020, she founded the Prestigious Jewels Majorette Team for ages 7 to 18.
“Right now, we have 7, 8, and 12-year-olds,” Jones said. “They are eager. Some of them are shy but are excited to be here, which makes me happy. I am here to help them in any way I can. We do many backbends and pop-outs and death drops toe touches. It is a very athletic, fun, crazy sport.”
Jones was also a shy child growing up in a single parent household. She challenged herself though.
“I was a cheerleader at first and decided to try something new, jumped into majorette dancing, loved it and it stuck with me,” Jones said. “It brought me out of my shell. That is why I am doing it today. I want to make sure that other girls in the city can get that same feel as well.”
She said the dance made her more confident.
“I was afraid of public everything,” Jones said. “With dance, I was the tailback, so I was the person that did the extra things in the background and that forced me to be a little more outgoing. I had to be in the public eye. I didn’t like it at the time, but it helped me. It helped a lot more people speak to me and it made me a lot more comfortable.”
Her high school team was like her family.
“You get close as teammates,” Jones said. “My coach was like a mother to me. They helped push me in school. It helped me in school presentations and things like that because without the help of the team pushing me out there, I probably wouldn’t be a presentation type of person,” she laughed.
There were some deep hardships that molded Jones into the woman she is today.
“My childhood was a rough one,” Jones said. “My family had a lot of struggles. My mom worked at FedEx in Memphis and she had to work a lot to take care of us.”
She and her mother are also victims of Hurricane Elvis, which hit in 2003 when she was only 6.
“Basically, we had a big oak tree in our yard that smashed through our house,” Jones said. “It was a lot. We were affected by that and had to move home to home after that,” she said as she got emotional. “A lot of other trauma went on during that time of my life.”
On top of their struggles, Jones’s mother was battling breast cancer most of her life.
“She had her first tumor when she was 22-years-old,” Jones said. “She ended up fighting a long battle with cancer. It took a toll on her. We moved here about three years ago for alternative treatments, but they gave her about a year to live. Growing up as a child in a single parent household with a parent with breast cancer that ended up being stage four was very difficult.”
Jones also suffers from ADHD and PTSD.
“The normal things people do like with regular jobs, that wouldn’t work for me,” she said. “I needed something to be able to control my ADHD and PTSD and that was dance. After treatments, I would go to dance classes to release my mind and just release myself. I would teach classes and that got my mind off everything that was going on and I could be free in the moment. I would dance the pain away. I would dance and put that emotion into my dance so that instead of holding it in and balling it up inside I am able to release it in a different manner.”
Sadly, her mother passed away when she was 22, but in honor of her mother, she dances and helps others express themselves through dance as well.
“I want to be able to expand and change lives of other girls,” Jones said. “If I can go back to my hometown in Memphis and start a dance team there, that would be great.”
She said the Prestigious Jewels Majorette Team welcomes any dancer who wants to join, especially those who need an outlet in their lives.
“No matter how many obstacles are in your way, keep going because you are here for a reason to do it,” Jones said.
Below are ways to contact Jones if you’re interested in joining the team: