Fresh from their spring break week performing in Ireland, the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles are back home, preparing to take the stage this weekend for their annual spring show.
“We aren’t hitting the ground running — we haven’t stopped,” said Jasilyn Schaefer, Apache Belles director. “Absolutely no rest, but that’s the way we prefer it. We want to entertain. We’re excited to perform. We’re excited to take some of the routines that we performed in Ireland and bring them back here to our community. What jetlag?! Let’s do our spring show!”
This year’s show theme, “Inspired by 75,” celebrates the organization’s 75 years of tradition, legacy and excellence.
“Audiences can expect to relive lots of memories from our alumni, see footage from past teams and celebrate what makes the Apache Belle experience so memorable and unique,” Schaefer said. “It’s a beautiful show and a great way to bring down the curtain on our 75th year.”
Artistic director and choreographer is Christy Evans. Graduate assistant is Lilly Capetillo. Schaefer, Evans and Capetillo are all former Apache Belles themselves.
The show runs 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 23-25, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, in Wise Auditorium, located in the Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center on the TJC central campus.
Admission is $15, and all seats are general admission. Tickets are on sale at ApacheBelles.com.
On Sunday, the Apache Belles returned from spending their spring break week in Ireland, where they performed in Galway and in Dublin’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade — which drew a crowd of about 500,000, plus millions more watching via television and online.
“The Irish people showed so much pride for their country on Saint Patrick’s Day,” said head dance captain Haley Farmer, of Killeen. “It’s kind of like their Fourth of July, so there were just so many people. Everyone was so excited to be there.”
Schaefer said, “This was our first overseas trip since the pandemic, and it was as exciting and fulfilling as you could imagine.”
Throughout their week abroad, the students also learned about Ireland’s rich history and culture, with stops at the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum, the Cliffs of Moher, The Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin, Clonmacnoise Monastery, Killary Sheep Farm and the 800-year-old Kings Head Tavern.
In addition, the team received a lesson in Irish dance technique from local performers, and then they conducted a workshop where they taught Irish students about the drill team style of dance.
The TJC Apache Belles pause for a group photo following their performance in the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland.
Ann W. Brookshire, TJC Board of Trustees member, accompanied the group on the trip.
“This was my second time to travel with the Apache Belles, and it was so much fun to be with them,” Brookshire said. “These young women are smart, dedicated, kind, thoughtful, professional, skilled dancers and very flexible when thrown curve balls. In spite of rain, cold and changing plans, they never complained and were always smiling. I feel certain that Ireland was impressed and honored to have them in the parade. The feeling was mutual for me.”
Schaefer added, “Travel is education outside of the classroom. By taking these students to physically experience these different cultures not only enriches their college experience, but also their life experience. Some of these students had never been on an airplane, much less out of the country, and now they know how to move around in the world. The special memories they’ve made this week will last a lifetime, and they will forever associate those experiences to their time here at Tyler Junior College.”
Meet the 2022-23 team
Sophomores and members of the 75th line: Cameron Arce, Cypress; Yasmin Badgett, Jacksonville; Katie Baggs, Flower Mound; Meagan Brown, Fort Worth; Katie Beth Bumbard, Brownsboro; Destiny Chandler, Port Lavaca; Caroline Cotton, Brownsboro; Bridget Cost, Sanger; Kaleah Dees, Broken Bow, Oklahoma; Haley Farmer, Killeen; Caitlin Gamel, Duncanville; Lauren Huff, Marshall; DaKira Mitchell, Tyler; Reagan Morris, Tyler; Brianna Peña, Round Rock; Alexa Rodriguez, Midlothian; Alexis Sanford, Jacksonville; Audrey Smith, Longview; Sydney Stone, Round Rock; and Alexandria Torrance, Fort Worth.
Freshmen and members of the 76th line: Savannah Bise, Celina; Liberty Briscoe, Lewisville; Emma Brown, Arlington; Bailee DeWolfe, Lindale; Emilee DeWolfe, Lindale; Zoe Draper, Deer Park; Alyssa Ehler, Little Elm; Analaura Elizarras, Houston; Sara Fritz, Longview; Danna Hernandez, Dallas; Iyana Johnson, Marshall; Hannah Lamb, Farmers Branch; Nadia Kutkut, Frisco; Faith Martinez, Marshall; Emma McDaniel, Katy; Angie Mendoza, Longview; Caraline Otte, Tyler; Melissa Reyes, Carrollton; Jayleeann Roth, Pearland; Sydney Rumpel, Longview; Hannah Tucker, Tyler; Abigail Vick, Grapevine; and Savanna Williams, Mansfield.
Belle Guards: Raffe Andrewartha, Round Rock; Grant Melton, Tyler; Kevin Orr, Dallas; Tyler Thompson, Lindale; and Grant Bird, Tyler.
For more information, go to ApacheBelles.com.