Nine of the 16 members of the Southern Misses Dance Team at The University of Southern Mississippi are former members of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkette Dance Team. One member of this year’s team is a former Mississippi Sound member from MGCCC.
The team includes former Perkettes Annabelle Giles of Mobile, Meagan Obiol of Hurley, Nyla Durden of Ocean Springs, Alexis Smith of Grand Bay, Kelsey Smith of Vancleave, Malia Marino of Petal, Faith Baucum of Carriere, Adyson Barlow of Pascagoula, and Ariel Thomas of Gautier. Jada Holmes of Moss Point is the former Mississippi Sound member.
“These dancers were chosen because of their athletic ability, high spirits, and true love and commitment to finish and continue their dance career,” said Ashlynn Fuqua, Southern Misses assistant coach. “I believe they are going to be an amazing asset to our team as we transition to becoming a competitive program. They have already meshed so well into our team dynamic. I can’t wait to see what all of our team members do this year as Southern Misses and how they contribute to the team. Head Coach Rebecca Chandler and I are so very excited for this year already!”
Nyla Durden, a 2021 graduate of MGCCC and former Perkette captain, said, “I’m very excited about being on a new team with my former Perkette team members. When I found out that so many of us were on the squad, I was happy because I know what these Perkettes are capable of and have no doubt in my mind that this team will do great things.”
Annabelle Giles, current Southern Misses team captain and 2020 MGCCC graduate and former Perkette, said she was incredibly excited to see Perkette alumnae audition and make the squad. “When I found out that nine of the Perkettes made the team, I was beyond excited because I know the potential all of them have,” Giles said. “Coach Britney [Patten] taught us what it is like to be a team and taught us so many valuable skills. It feels great knowing that there is going to be so much talent on the team this year.”
Perkette Dance Team coordinator and choreographer Britney Patten said that she was thrilled to find out these former Perkettes had made the USM squad.
“The fact that so many Perkettes decided to join and audition for the Southern Misses Dance Team is a testament to the beautiful bond and sisterhood they shared during their experience at MGCCC,” she said. “On the Perkette Dance Team, these young ladies establish lifelong, family-like connections and bonds with team members through the experience.”
Patten added that bonding is an important part of any athletic team. “As a coach, I emphasize the importance of building and maintaining a family-like atmosphere for the team,” she said. “The fact that all these girls made the choice to not only continue their collegiate dance pursuits, but also to continue that journey TOGETHER, as sisters, makes me the proudest. These girls are incredibly talented, hard-working and determined. The University of Southern Mississippi and the Southern Misses Dance Team are definitely lucky to have them.”