The 30 dancers who make up the Wilson High School Bruinettes drill team take their jobs very seriously.
The long hours of practicing high kick lines, splits, leaps and combinations have paid off. The girls recently were invited to perform alongside the nation’s top high school drill teams at the National Football League’s Pro Bowl half-time show on Jan. 29 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“We’re really proud of ourselves,” said coach Louise Guest. “We want to be a positive part of Wilson High School.”
The team received their invite to the Pro Bowl after they earned a “Superior” ranking at the United Spirit Association’s (USA) summer camp at Chapman University in July. Now, it’s all about raising the money to give the girls the chance to perform in Hawaii, according to Guest.
“Our ultimate goal is to get the entire team to go — 100 percent,” she said. “But, it’s going to cost roughly $2,000 per person.”
The team has started fundraising with a car wash and bake sale last week. They are also collaborating with area restaurants that are donating a percentage of sales on specific days to the Bruin-
The Bruinettes are a dance-intensive team — performing in-sync routines that feature level changes, roll-offs and fast choreography. Several of the Bruinettes have little or no dance background — but tend to quickly progress into dancers due to the rigorous, but team-oriented practices and performances.
“We try to embrace each other as a family,” Guest said. “We’re sisters, and we really represent the ethnic and cultural makeup of Wilson High School.”
Senior Bruinette Kimberly De Los Santos is new to the team — and to the dance world. She decided to try out for the team to be with her friends and to try something new during her senior year of high school.
“I wanted to be with my friends and decided to try this,” De Los Santos said. “I used to play soccer, and now I’m in a skirt and bow, but I love it.”
For veteran Bruinette Erika Ramirez, being on the team means playing an active role on campus.
“This is my fourth year on the team,” Ramirez said. “I came into it as a freshmen and it helped me break down my shell, and get involved. It brought me into the high school world, and I met a lot of girls that I call my sisters today.”
Throughout the school year, the Bruinettes perform at football and basketball halftimes and weekly school rallies. They sometimes march with the school band, while twirling flags. Each team member is required to keep up a 2.0 grade point average and attend 15 hours of practice per week, with many of the girls balancing schoolwork, other sports activities and after-school jobs.
From 5 p.m. to closing on Tuesday, Sept. 13, Frisco’s Restaurant will be donating 15% of its sales to the team. Frisco’s is at 4750 Los Coyotes Diagonal. A percentage of sales also will be contributed on Friday, Sept. 16, at Hof’s Hut, at 6257 E. Second St.; Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Ruby’s Diner, at 6405 E. Pacific Coast Highway; and Friday, Sept. 30 at Cityside Pizza, at 712 Cherry Ave.
Those who purchase Wilson High School clothing and gear online at www.b1selfshop.com/wchs/store, can enter the code “Drill Team” at checkout, and 20% of the sale will help out the team. To send a donation, or to be a sponsor, call 433-0481 ext. 6910, or send a check to Wilson Bruinettes, 4400 E. 10th St., Long Beach, CA 90804.