First boy on dance team

   The Silver Stars look a bit different this year with one member wearing long pants on Friday nights. Senior, Matthew Bishop, makes history as the first boy ever on the dance team. 

“We really haven’t had to make any (changes) other than just making sure he had an appropriate performance uniform,” coach Dawn Rhodes said, “and just a few little tweaks to dances here and there, what he does to make it more masculine rather than feminine.”

Other than the uniforms and small changes to dances, Bishop has a separate locker room from the rest of the girls. 

“I love sparkles and glitter,” Bishop said. “It’s nice, I like it that way because I feel more a part of the team.”

He does not mind sparkles and glitter. He also loves the trademark of the hats and boots.

“I love having the honor to put them on and dance,” Bishop said. 

Bishop is home schooled through Arkansas Connections Academy. In order to try out, his mom reached out to administrators to approve his try out. 

“I tried out because I wanted to do something different that I’d never done before,” Bishop said, “and I knew the Silver Stars did a lot of kick and hard stuff that I’d never even tired so I thought, ‘hey for my senior year, why don’t I go try something new.’” 

Bishop has been dancing at Rhythm and Shoes Dance Studio since he was nine years old. He learned to dance there.

 “I’m like the only person different there out of everyone so it can be kind of weird sometimes,” Bishop said.

Although he is not the same as the rest of the team, he deals with it the best he can by being friendly. According to Rhodes, he blends in well.

“He just blended in really well,” Rhodes said. “I think everybody has been very welcoming.” 

 Each officer on the team has a small group of the team they communicate with and they might break out to work on dances during practices called squad with an officer as the leader. His squad leader is senior lieutenant Addison Taldo.

“I was excited for Matthew to be in my squad,” Taldo said. “I always like to have more people in my group and I thought it would be something different.” 

Taldo believes having a boy on the team will make them stand out since it’s not common.

“I think he has lots of benefits,” Rhodes said. “I think he’s a good example of what hard work is. Integrity, he shows up, does what he’s supposed to do at all times. I think he’s just a definitely a good addition and a good influence on some of the younger team members.” 

Taldo agrees. She is inspired by his work ethic and the hard work he put into the dances. 

“He’s an all-round great kid and I think he’s a joy to have as part of the team,” Rhodes said. “I think he’s got a great attitude and I think he genuinely loves the team.” 

According to Rhodes the team would not be the same without him and can not imagine him being on the team.

“Everybody I dance with loves to dance and I feel like the commonality removes that difference a bit and that’s really all I focus on,” Bishop said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re male or female, we’re all dancers and that’s what counts.”