At the University of Mississippi, it’s tradition for students to tailgate at ‘The Grove’. Next year Mary Kate Workman will be a part of this tradition too, but instead of eating burgers and hot dogs in the area outside the football field with her friends, she will be performing in ‘The Grove Show’ along with the other Ole Miss Rebelette dancers.
Workman decided to attend Ole Miss next fall because it’s far away from home, but still close to her family in Memphis, Tenn. Workman was going to try out for the dance team wherever she went, but after deciding to attend Ole Miss, the Rebelettes was the only team she tried out for.
“My family is from the south, so I was visiting lots of SEC schools,” Workman said. “Once I visited the [Ole Miss] campus I just really fell in love with it.”
Workman missed two days of school to try out for the Rebelette dance team. Tryouts ran from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon. Workman passed three rounds of cuts, which included basic technique, a jazz dance, the school fight song, a personal interview and a fitness test, which was Workman’s least favorite part. For the fitness test, Workman and the other girls had to complete a mile long pacer. After yet another round of cuts, the girls performed the jazz dance, a new hip-hop choreography and a 30 second solo.
“[The solos were] cool because you got to watch everyone,” Workman said. “Everyone just went out one at a time, so you got to see everyone’s cool tricks and stuff.”
Workman and her mom sat in the hotel lobby on Saturday night, refreshing the Rebelettes web page until the list was posted. When they saw that she had made it, the two began screaming and crying.
“The man working in the hotel lobby said congrats and gave me a hug,” Workman said. “The whole night I was getting texts and calls and social media shout outs from everyone which was really fun.”
According to Workman, she will have a strict workout schedule next year, which will push her to be physically fit. The dance team will also be a large time commitment, but Workman says she has been used to that in high school with Lancer Dancers and Kansas City Ballet. Workman is looking forward to the way that being a Rebellette will change her college experience.
“Instead of being in the student section I’ll be either on the field or on the court,” Workman said. “I’m really excited about that.”