Delray Divas still high stepping

It was in 1999 when Tia Renee Dobard was looking for a positive program for her daughters Chaquana and Nikoia to participate in and signed them up for the Delray Baby Queens Step program.

“I attended the first practice, and I really developed a passion for stepping,” said Dobard, who changed the name to the Delray Divas when she started helping in 1999. “I felt I could add some leadership to it, and I stepped in and started making dances and then I moved on to routines.

“People loved the creativity that I brought to the team,” she said. “I knew I would be involved in coaching, and I have been involved ever since.”

Chaquana Darrisaw is still helping her mother choreograph the routines for the Delray Divas step team that performs at local events and statewide competitions. The Divas, who were founded by a friend of Dobard’s, Rhonda Turner, will compete in about 10 events and perform at about 70 other events like holiday parades and school functions.

The Delray Divas had made quite the name for themselves. They recently performed at the Greek Alumni Step Show at Palm Beach Lakes High School. (Tia Renee Dobard/Courtesy )

The art of stepping was derived from a tradition of song and dance rituals practiced by historic African American fraternities and sororities. The program reinforces the role of youth as positive members of the community.

“We have performed out of state in North Carolina, Georgia and others,” said Dobard, whose group of 20 girls range from ages 9 to 17. “My greatest thrill of watching these girls is watching them bond, set and achieve goals, and turn into amazing young ladies.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “It is breathtaking. I love it and I get chills when they perform. Sometimes I cry because it is beautiful. It really is.”

They practice on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Pompey Park Recreational Center, 1101 NW Second St., in Delray Beach. For information, call Tia Renee Dobard at 561-901-9385.

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