“You know what to do with that big fat butt, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,” booms from the speakers at a senior girls’ powderpuff rally rehearsal the week before it is set to be performed. In a nearby room, junior male cheerleaders “whip” and “nae nae” to Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” With this being a tame year, it is easy to see why powderpuff has historically been received with mixed opinions.
In the past decade powderpuff has led to some serious shenanigans. Even five or six years ago, students were egging cars in the parking lot and trashing campus with decorations the night before the game. One year, a male student streaked across the football field wearing nothing but a G-string.
After things calmed down on the field, the trouble transitioned over to the rallies. Assistant principal Martin Enriquez says the rallies have been an issue ever since he arrived at Carmel High School eight years ago.
“By the time I got here the dancing was already instituted,” Enriquez says. “That was one of our focuses, that it was appropriate, because like we tell our kids it’s not just yourselves, we’re going to have grandparents and kids there in the audience, and we got to make sure we are respectful.”
Over the past few years the raunchiness of the dances has been toned down; however, a booty-popping tradition still seems to persists.
“I told everyone we don’t need it, but some girls are in it are super into it,” says senior Monica de Groot, one of the six choreographers for the senior girls dance. “A lot of people want to do it because everyone has done it, like, ‘Senior dance last year were the worst ones ever and we need to continue it.’ ”
There has been an effort to bring powderpuff back to its roots as a friendly competition among grade levels and a playful reversal of roles. Dance teacher and rally advisor Kristine Tarozzi says, “I would love to see powderpuff get back to the original spirit of the game.”
This is exactly what junior Elise Cricchio and Cici Hendricks were trying to do with their group of junior girls.
“We have been doing team building during practice, and we wanted to make more than just a dance,” Cricchio says.
“Cici and I asked, ‘Are there any moves that anyone feels uncomfortable with?’ The last thing we want is for people to drop out because they are comfortable.’”
Not many will say powderpuff should be abolished outright, but most faculty seem to agree it is time to rein in the content of the rallies. Next year, a rule sheet may even be published listing acceptable dance moves.
As Enriquez says, “It can still be fun, but it needs to respectful and appropriate.”