What does it take to become one of Southern’s Fabulous Dancing Dolls?

Even if you haven’t seen the Southern University Fabulous Dancing Dolls perform in person, you’ve likely felt the impact of their influence.

The detail-oriented, well-dressed dance team’s smooth and precise movements can be spotted all over TikTok, and the team has even taken the stage with world-famous performers like Beyonce, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and more over the years.

The Human Jukebox and the Fabulous Dancing Dolls made national headlines for appearing in Lizzo’s 2019 music video “Good as Hell.” The dance group got to strut their stuff alongside the pop superstar and received a special thanks at the end of the video. The spotlight was a reminder of how much the Dancing Dolls have left their mark on college band culture.

From their fashionable uniforms and polished makeup and hair to their fluid hand motions and wave-like body rolls, they add flair and pride to the already exuberant band.

225 sat down with Southern University band director Kedric Taylor to dive deeper into how the Fabulous Dancing Dolls get so fabulous. suhumanjukebox.com

Southern University’s Fabulous Dancing Dolls perform at the annual Bayou Classic in New Orleans. Photo Courtesy Southern University

Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

How would you describe the Dancing Dolls’ role in the Southern University band?

When you think about the Dancing Dolls, you think about young ladies who stand out amongst their peers. You have to know how to be a versatile dancer who does ballet, tap and jazz. You have to be universal and classically trained. We only take the cream of the crop.

© Jordan Hefler

Take us back to the beginning. How did the Dolls get started?

In 1969, the legendary (band director) Isaac ‘Doc’ Greggs started the Dancing Dolls. He had a vision to start a team that would be glamorous, lustrous, have style, grace and character that stood out unlike any other. The goal was to enhance the shows that he already created.

How do auditions work? What experience do you need to have?

Every year about 100 ladies audition. The number (selected for the team) fluctuates, but we try not to go over 11 because of uniform purposes and because we’re very limited on practice space.

There is a three-step process. (We) send them a video (of a dance) by email to learn before they come to campus. Then they go through (the audition) progressions. Then we say ‘OK, how do they look as a team?’

Everything about the Dancing Dolls is precise. From the toes being pointed to the hands being straight, to their legs going a certain way. It’s an art. If you haven’t been taught that art, it’s going to be difficult to make the team.

What are the team requirements?

You have to be able to manage your time. You have to have at least a 2.7 GPA to audition, but our Dolls have raised the bar, and they all have at least a 3.0 GPA.

The Dancing Dolls and the Human Jukebox perform every year at the Bayou Classic during the Battle of the Bands, one of the most popular events of the weekend. Photos Courtesy Southern University.


Give me the scoop on their dazzling uniforms.

Every week they try to put on a new uniform. I like to have them get at least three to four new uniforms a year. Traci Greene, the Dancing Dolls sponsor, gets with the coach and they collaborate on uniforms they envision, something that goes with our colors and looks great.

How often do the Dancing Dolls practice?

They practice daily like the band, Monday through Friday. For the Dancing Dolls, we’ll go from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The Dancing Dolls come outside (with the band) Wednesdays and Thursdays and have a dress rehearsal on Friday.

Photo Courtesy Southern University.

What’s something that might surprise people about the Dancing Dolls?

They put a lot of hours into the craft all to put together a performance that’s one minute and thirty seconds at the most.

We’ve been fortunate throughout the years to get talented young ladies who bring more and more creativity to the Dancing Dolls. There’s no one person who has created the style and dance moves that the Dolls are doing. It’s a collaborative thing from multiple dancers. These young ladies continue to add to that legacy.

This article was originally published in the August 2023 issue of 225 magazine.