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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

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The University Star


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TXST Strutters form a strong sisterhood bond


Texas State education junior and Strutters assistant line captain Jasmine Gilliam dances on the bleachers during the first football game of the season, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Bobcat Stadium.

The Strutters performance group is a proud part of Texas State tradition, working to entertain home football game attendees, students and faculty alike. Together, they are more than just kicks and precision dance, but a sisterhood that strives for excellence.
Barbara Guinn Tidwell, the former choreographer and director of the program, founded The Strutters after the former president of Southwest Texas State College John Flowers approached her to start a female dance team that would represent the college and perform at football games. The Strutters are the first precision dance team formed at a four-year university since the programs establishment in 1960.
Currently, The Strutters are under the direction of Tammy Fife and former Strutter and professional cheerleader Selina Flores, following Tidwell’s 37 years, and Susan Angell-Gonzalez’s 16 years with the group.
Tidwell passed away earlier this year in May. Her legacy lives on in the form of The Strutters’ performances and dedication to Texas State.
“I would say they’re just a very unique group of very very, very, very talented dancers who are also very tied to each other and very dedicated to their university and to each other and to the team,” Fife said.
Fife sees The Stutters as a group of talented and devoted dancers who represent Texas State through their performance and spirit.
There are currently 93 members of The Strutters, making them the nation’s largest college drill team. Performing at state, national and international levels in 26 countries, they have cultivated a large fan base and are role models to young dancers.
Lindsey Trahan, a former Strutter who served as a captain in 2015, was one of those young girls who looked up to the Strutters after witnessing their performances.
“My high school director and friends were Strutters,” Trahan said. “The first time I watched The Strutters perform, I got chills like I couldn’t describe and I then realized that’s what I wanted to do.”
Lillian Mathis, a dance sophomore and first-year Strutter had her eye on the Strutters the moment she researched it. She took notice of the value of sisterhood the team had, and she was immediately drawn in to join the team.
“It’s different from performing in high school because obviously there’s a larger crowd,” Mathis said. “There’s a little bit more pressure of it, but it’s like a good type of pressure, I guess. It forces you to perform your best.”
The term “sisterhood” takes the lead as The Strutters’ theme for this year. The sisterhood-like bond brings them together as a teammates. According to Fife, there is nothing they would not do for one another.
“They take care of each other,” Fife said. “If one needs a ride, there’s about 90 girls offering them a ride.”
The program participates in the big sister and little sister tradition in which young Strutters are paired with veteran Strutters. Generations of Strutters stay involved with their sisterhood down the line. The performance group has cultivated over 3000 alumnae that stay connected through the sisterhood bond that is formed through being on the team.
Strutter alumnae know the importance of staying connected to the team and providing help and support wherever and whenever it is needed.
“There’s people on your sister line that go all the way back, and you just get to learn from people of all different ages and one’s that have graduated,” Mathis said. “Strutter alumni always stay involved. The past alumni will tune in to practices, come support games, or show up for sister lines and meet their next sisters that join the family as more and more girls join the strutters each year.
The Strutters perform in various dances and styles, specializing in jazz elite and pom. In time, they performed at three U.S. presidential inaugurations, at a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and were selected to participate in America’s Bicentennial in a commercial for Coca-Cola.
The team takes importance not only in reaching their performance standards but in building strength and character to be good examples and role models at Texas State. Part of their core mission is to give their very best halftime performances and to stick to their core values of professionalism, vigor and poise.
This year, the Strutters are making their mark by traveling to perform in Costa Rica at the end of the fall semester. The team has been looking forward to this special trip and have been hard at work preparing.
“It’ll be really exciting and fun. The Strutters have never performed in Costa Rica, so we are really excited about that,” Fife said.
For more information on The Texas State Strutters, visit https://txst.com/sports/dance-team.

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