Students will soon see the 1-2-5 Rattler Strut at the Homecoming Convocation and halftime of the football game.
“I love to dance, so I think I should be interested in learning the Rattler 1-2-5 Strut,” said Richard Harris, a freshman from Miami.
About 60 students shared Gaither Gymnasium on Thursday afternoon, preparing for homecoming weekend. On the front side, about 30 students strutted to silent tunes with a dance instructor leading the way.
Elgie G. Sherrod, a dance instructor at FAMU, is the choreographer of the Rattler 1-2-5 Strut. This line dance is the beginning of a new era at FAMU.
“I created it in honor of the 125th FAMU anniversary,” Sherrod said. “And I put in movement that I thought represented FAMU’s legacy and tradition.”
Sherrod knows that line dancing is about unity and bringing people together from different backgrounds and cultures. Line dances are sometimes done at weddings and large celebrations.
“A lot of the movements, I thought, reflected the tradition of the Marching ‘100’ or the tradition of African-American people in terms of our culture,” Sherrod said.
The strut involves basic dance steps – side leans and the infamous Rattler strike. Not at all long, the line dance pays homage to the uplifting of the university during tough times.
“I chose James Brown’s ‘Super Bad’ because [his] music and the legacy of it talks about African-American people and people of its ancestry,” Sherrod said. “It helps them to claim their greatness and their African heritage or tradition.”
“Watch me; I got it” are some of the lyrics of empowerment that Sherrod spoke of. Brown’s music is dominant, energetic and encouraging. He commands his audience to “listen and tells of all these things that he is capable of doing.”
“I taught it to many different factions or many different segments of the university,” Sherrod said.
Various athletic departments, such the FAMU tennis, softball and cheerleading teams, both chapters of the alumni association and Interim President Larry Robinson know the Rattler 1-2-5 Strut. The dance has also been taught to some students at the FAMU Developmental Research School and a senior group at Gaither.
“I was asked to help coordinate the entertainment for halftime since the Marching ‘100’ has been suspended,” said Sharon Saunders, FAMU chief communications officer.
A committee comprising staff from the athletic department, Office of Student Activities and Student Government Association came up with the alternative concept. Audience participation and entertainment experience was the committee’s main focus.
“[It will represent] a celebration of FAMU legacy and history, making a big, bold statement.”