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Pride of the Tide still working during unusual times

The Picayune Pride of the Tide dance team has been consistently putting the time in to work on and improve their routines, even with the uncertainty of COVID-19 surrounding everything they do.

Competitions have been cancelled this year and at the moment it doesn’t seem like the Pride of the Tide will get to travel with the football team for away games, but the opportunity to dance again after quarantine is enough of a reward for the athletes.

“Since they’re getting to dance their attitudes are amazing. They want to be here and we never have any absences. They are definitely excited because for a moment there we didn’t know if we were going to get it,” Director Mandy Feeley said.

The squad is made up of 19 dancers and a manager, all of whom are responsible for making sure the team is performance ready.

Currently the plan is to hold an exhibition later in the fall where the band, Pride of the Tide and color guard will be able to have a full show performance in front of judges at Lee Triplett Stadium, even if it isn’t in a competition environment.

Because of those plans the group needs to still nail down multiple show routines, on top of the necessary routines for Friday night football games, including the crowd favorite “Are You From Dixie?”

Of the 19 dancers only 7 are new to the squad, so there’s already familiarity between the athletes and a good foundation of skills as well.

This has given the more experienced upperclassmen the opportunity to teach and guide the new dancers on how to properly train, dance and represent the organization during these unprecedented times.

“We have a lot of returning members that are great leaders and constantly telling the girls, ‘We can do this we can push through this. There’s going to be those obstacles, but we’re going to get over those,’” Feeley said.

The organization’s new spot in the stadium on Friday nights will be its own set of bleachers in the end zone, and the dancers have been following the district’s stringent guidelines regarding COVID-19. It’s unchartered territory for everyone, and the dancers are just looking to make the best of the situation.

“We’re looking forward to having a season, even if that just entails home games and virtual completion, we are excited to get out there and dance for community,” Feeley said.