The Iron Bowl isn’t the only grudge match this weekend. On Saturday, the Southern University Jaguars will face off against the Grambling University Tigers in the “granddaddy of all classics,” the 38th Annual State Farm Bayou Classic in New Orleans. SCDD spoke with Dancing Doll Meagan Callier as she prepared for her final Bayou Classic performance with the Southern University Human Jukebox. This is one busy young lady: she spoke to us on her last day of classes, between step show and dance line practice! Miss Callier, 21, is a Mobile native and is the daughter of Karen and Mark Hansberry and Francis Callier. The Mass Communications major and new Delta plans to attend both graduate and law school after graduation.
Balance is key: I work really hard at each individual thing. I never stop. And I pray a lot for strength and I just keep going. But I love it: I love school, I love dance and I love my sorority so it’s not a problem to put forth that effort.
Advice to her younger self? I was so stuck on coming to college and being independent that I hurt myself [when it came to] picking a class or a major. I would tell myself that it’s okay to ask [my parents and advisors] questions, that I don’t know everything.
Personal style: I would say [my style is] funky. Not weird, but I don’t really follow trends. I wear what I feel, or what I think looks good. I’ve definitely seen the stores I’ve shop in change since I started college. Forever 21 was my favorite. But I [shop more] in boutiques now. Instead of picking up a club dress I pick up a button down because I’ll get more use out of it. I like how the rest of the world looks at a Black female dressed in business casual. (Meagan named a “sultry but classy” BCBG dress and a particular wedge boot at Bakers as two items she has her eye on.)
She Gets it from her Mama: [My mother taught me] that less is more. You don’t have to wear red shoes, a red hat, and a red shirt. And you don’t have to be naked to look womanly or sexy. My mom has a really feminine, classy sense of style.
So Over It: [For women] I wish that the shaved head trend – where you shave your head and dye it – would go away. I hate it…it’s going around on my campus. The long feather earring trend, hate it. For men? Sagging pants.
Behind the scenes: It’s a lot of hard work. People really don’t understand the time and dedication that we put into the dances, the makeup, the hair. We get our costumes together. We don’t have a sponsor. We practice every day from four until. It’s really like a job. But the finished product is what we love and we like for people to think that it’s effortless. [People would be surprised to know] we get really nervous before we perform. Every girl has those jitters. People think we’ve been doing it so long and we’re technically trained [so it’s easy], but the nerves before performance are ridiculous. We pray before every performance – can’t perform without it- [or] the nerves will get the best of us.
What she’s going to miss most about the Dancing Dolls: The friendships. The laughs we share. [No matter what type of day I’ve had] I can come to practice and I’m guaranteed a laugh. Someone will uplift my spirits. We laugh so much; we’re really a close squad. My captain Kayla Smith, I love her to death. I’ve never had a sister but [we are that close]. I’m really going to miss her.
Going out with a bang at the 2011 Bayou Classic: I am anxious and nervous and sad all in one because I know it’s the end. I’m going to miss my squad; I love them like my sisters [and] it’s going to be hard to let go. But I’m ready. I’ve danced all my life and I’m ready to discover a new world outside of dance. I’m excited. Looking back on it, I’m pleased with the decision I made to come to Southern. I left my family and my friends and I’m on my own; coming here developed me as a young woman. It went by too fast!
Images courtesy of Meagan A. Callier