A group of Just For Kix – San Angelo dancers were selected as part of the Outback Bowl National Performance Team for the 2018 Outback Bowl halftime and pregame shows. The Outback Bowl is a college football bowl game that took place on New Year's Day and featured teams from the SEC and Big 10 Conferences. Program Director, Lauren White, was also in attendance.
The performance tour took place from December 28th, 2017 - January 3rd, 2018. Around 900 people were a part of the tour, including dancers, parents, chaperones, coaches, and Just For Kix staff.
Dancers auditioned from all over the United States to be a part of this group, and there were approximately 400 performers, from about 15 states. “We were looking for dancers with excellent stage presence and tightness. They needed to be able to perform,” said Cindy Clough, Just For Kix Executive Director. “Many times dancers were singled out on the big screen and we needed to be assured they would be smiling and in sync. They had to be able to adapt to changes and not only know their part, but perform it well. Dancers should be flexible as we execute high kicks and they should be able to do toe touches, turns and leaps; whatever the routine required for that year. Outback Bowl performances generally aren't as technically difficult as they are fun. They need to go with the theme and perform as if they are on Broadway.”
San Angelo Just For Kix dancers Emily Houston (7th grade Lee Middle School) and Hadalee Higgins (2nd grade Water Valley) learned the routines with Coach White prior to the trip. They were expected to arrive in Tampa with a firm grasp of all choreography. Once in Florida, the formations and routines were organized with the entire performance group. Dancers practiced on show execution approximately 15 hours over the course of the 3 days leading up to the game.
The pregame show was themed "Surfing" and paid tribute to the 32nd anniversary of the Tampa Outback Bowl. All performers wore bright colored t-shirts to bring the celebration theme to life. The 400 dancers covered the entire field from end zone to end zone.
The halftime show was a salute to Country music themed “Country Forever.” Songs such as “Chattahoochee” featured dancers 2nd-5th grade. Dancers 6th grade and up perform to “Nine to Five.” Halftime costumes all had a western touch with accents of denim, cow-print, and red bandana paisley. Groups utilized props such as hoops with red, white, and blue streamers, white pom-poms, and blue performance capes to tie the show together.
A mass band with over 2,000 members played the music for the halftime performance. They were directed by Dr. Richard Miles, Professor of Music and Director of Bands of Morehead State University in Kentucky.
The Outback Bowl dancers were coordinated by Just For Kix national instructors, headquartered in Brainerd, MN. This was the 30th Bowl Game halftime show produced by Just For Kix. Choreography was arranged by the Just For Kix staff under the direction of Cindy Clough. The crowd at the 2018 Outback Bowl exceeded 46,000 fans and the game, was broadcasted on national television.
In addition to practicing and performing, the dancers and chaperones visited Clearwater Beach, Busch Gardens, Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and a dinner cruise on the Yacht Starship. They also attended an awards banquet following the game.