Prodigy: Balancing School and a Step Team

Being college student balancing school, work and club activities is difficult enough. I was curious about what it is like to be a step captain so I interviewed Prodigy team captain's Bellina Mushala and Bentley Gordon, two juniors from Wells college. Bellina is a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major with an Economics minor. Bentley is a Computer Science major with a minor in Mathematics. They both agree that to lead a step team a person needs passion, discipline, determination, creativity, patience, and dedication.

When asked “How do you juggle your schoolwork while being captain of the step team?” both captains agreed that time management is a major key to their step success. Bellina says  “There is a scheduled time for step practice that never changes. Practice is two times a week, on Wednesdays from 8-10 p.m. and Sundays 6-8 p.m. This allows me to properly plan out when to make up new steps and when to teach them to the team. With this scheduled time, I can juggle both schoolwork and tasks of the team." Additionally, Bentley says “planning out my week in advance and starting my assignments as early as possible enables me to deviate time to both schoolwork and Prodigy efficiently.”

Being a part of the Prodigy step team has helped them to grow as people. Bellina asserts that “Being a part of the team has built my confidence, taught me how to be patient and work with people of different backgrounds. As a captain, I have learned ways to be motivational and inspire the team to do their best”. Bentley believes that having multiple campus responsibilities has also helped him to improve his time management skills, and his responsibility to communicate with his team members efficiently has helped him gained towards his communication and social skills.

As we may know, team drama is inevitable, but how these captains resolve their issues if they arise? Bentley states “When it comes to altercations between team members, I like to give them their time before diving right into the solution phase. But I also express our rule of leaving all drama at the door”. Bellina also emphasizes that “the number one rule in Prodigy is to leave all the drama out the door!!! There is a different atmosphere among members that permits very few discrepancies, but when they do occur, we immediately talk it out and solve it”.

Receiving a new position such as captain is very rewarding, but I asked how was the adjustment. While Bentley says that the transition was not significant due to his previous leadership roles the hardest part was continually creating different steps. Conversely, Bellina thought that the adjustment was terrifying because she was used to performing in the back and just having to worry about herself rather than the team. Also, she had never stepped before joining Prodigy, which made her scared whether or not she could create and teach new steps to others. Being the team captain pushed her out of her comfort zone, but with the help of her co-captain, Bentley, it was a smooth transition.

Bellina and Bentley have taken their Prodigy team to new heights by working tediously all year to improve their team and their skills. In March of this year, they were selected to participate in the World of Step International Competition. The competition gave them an opportunity to represent Wells and show how hard they have worked for a moment like this. Although they were nervous at first, Bentley says “once on we got on the stage it felt like home, and we knew that we were blessed to be there.” Bellina also adds that after participating in the regionals, they were chosen to advance to the final round. This was the first time in Prodigy history to be a part of a competition, and she is proud to be a part of the growing history.

To market their teams’ skills, the captains have a public Facebook account where they advertise any upcoming events and post snippets of their shows and steps. They also have an official email [email protected] account where people and college clubs can reach out and invite them to perform and discuss collaborations.

If you want to see Prodigy’s talent in action, come to their Annual Step Show at Wells college in the Phipps Auditorium April 20, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. and at the World of Step International Competition May 26, 2018, at John Jay College in the Gerald W. Lynch Theater!