Super Fun; Pershing Hill’s Superhero Dance builds community

Staff Sgt. Michael Hardman of the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade entertains students as the disc jockey at Pershing Hill Elementary School’s first Superhero Dance on Friday evening. About 150 children and their parents attended. (Photos by Nate Pesce)

When the popular hip-hop song/dance “Ju Ju On That Beat” filled the gymnasium at Pershing Hill Elementary School on Friday evening, two young girls started to boogie at the school’s first Superhero Dance.

Eight-year-old Ta’Niyah Hardman, dressed as Batgirl, performed with her friend, seven-year-old Aubriana Hagans who dressed as Wonder Woman, in front of a crowd of students who also did the “Ju Ju” dance and cheered as parents took photographs and video on their cellphones.

Six-year-old Joey Levan runs through the gym wearing his Superman costume.

“Her father loves music and all she does is dance,” said Tasha Hardman, Ta’Niyah’s mother.

Hardman’s husband Staff Sgt. Michael Hardman of the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade was the event’s disc jockey.

About 150 participants attended the three-hour dance, which was sponsored by the school’s Parent Teacher Association and the student council.

“This is an opportunity for students, families [and staff] to come together and have fun,” Principal Kimberly Terry said. “They can let off steam because they work extremely hard everyday.”

The student council voted on the theme of superheroes. Students were asked not to wear masks or carry toy weapons.

Costumes ranged from Darth Vader, Batman and Robin, and Spider-Man to Wonder Woman, Ghostbuster and princesses.

Ta’Niyah Hardman, 8, performs the “Ju Ju On That Beat” dance.

Ten-year-old Elizabeth Brown dressed as Supergirl.

“The music is really catchy,” the fourth-grader said. “I love to dance.”

The student council provided pizza, cupcakes, chips, juice and bottled water for a nominal fee. All monies raised will be donated to the school.

Students danced to a combination of Kidz Bop, country, rock and hip-hop, but they also ran around the gym and played tag, performed gymnastic moves and formed a train line.

Shannel Warfield, wife of an Air Force tech sergeant, brought to the dance her three daughters Cierra, Priya and Zahnra.

“We came to support the community and have a good time, “ Warfield said. “It’s a way of bringing everyone together for a sense of community outside of school hours.”

Fourteen-year-old Cierra danced all evening along with her younger sister, Priya, who attends Pershing Hill.

“Whatever comes to my head, I just do it,” the Meade High School student said.

Students jumped in the air when Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy” was played.

Hospital Corpsman Derek Buitrago of Naval Information Operations Command Maryland came with his wife and two sons. He said the dance was a chance for military parents to meet each other.

More than 95 percent of students at Pershing Hill are military children.

“It’s also good for the kids because they can build social skills,” Buirtago said. “It’s just good fun.”

Tech Sgt. Benjamin Washburn of U.S. Cyber Command brought his 7-year-old son Blake.

“He likes hanging out with his buddies, and the school puts on a good show,” Washburn said. “With all this activity, he’s guaranteed to get a good night’s sleep.”

Blake came dressed as a Power Ranger, and Washburn was one of the few parents to come in a costume. He wore a Ninja Turtle bodysuit.

When asked why he chose the popular children’s character, Washburn smiled.

“I lost a bet,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Sean Carter swings his children Aerith, 8, in her Spider-Girl costume, and Auron, 7, a.k.a. Darth Vader, during the dance.
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