Vicki's Dancers ACCOMPLISHMENTS AFTER GRADUATION
DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS
LSU GOLDEN GIRLS
LA TECH REGAL BLUES
LA TECH POM SQUAD
LA TECH CHEERLEADER
NORTHWESTERN POM SQUAD
NORTHWESTERN DEMON DAZZLERS
TEXAS A&M POM SQUAD
NORTHEAST TEN LITTLE INDIANS
BPCC LADIES IN GOLD
HOUSTON TEXANS CHEERLEADER
Vicki Fulghum or "Miss Vicki" as she is called started taking dance classes at the age of 3 years old. She took from Bess McBride whose studio was located by Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. She also took gymnastic classes from Vannie Edwards whose classes were taught at Centenary College.
At the age of 11 she started taking private lessons in addition to her regular classes in tap, ballet and acrobatics. There would be a break between her regular classes and her 2 hour private lessons, so she would eat and do her homework at Strawn's every night of the week. Miss Vicki was involved with 2 ballet companies which met for 3-4 hours on Saturday mornings. The Ballet Art's Workshop and The Ballet Art's Dancers with Bess McBride.
At 14, her mother took her to a dance convention where she was taught jazz for the first time, she loved it! Soon after this her dance teacher retired. Miss Vicki became a member of a jazz company named Omni Dance Theater with Lea Darwin, an international teacher and lecturer. She started to travel around the country seeking out different teachers and techniques. She studied with several different national and international dancing masters in all disciplines. Some of these teachers included Buster Cooper, Al Gilbert, Gus Giordano, Charles Kelley, Joe Tremaine, Robert Jofreion, Joseph Levinoff and Ronnie Mahler.
At the age of 15, Miss Vicki started her dance studio by passing out flyers to children in her neighborhood. Her first dance class consisted of 4 students, which she taught in her parent's double garage that was made into a playroom. The second year she had 20 students enrolled. The third year, her dance class had grown to 40 students and has kept on growing. Miss Vicki has been teaching dance for 46 years and now has an enrollment of approximately 700 students at her dance studio.
When she was 16 she presented herself for an examination in ballet, tap and jazz. She became a member of the Southern Association of Dance Masters. At 17 she was asked to go to New York with Charles Kelly to study under him. After graduating from high school she decided to attend Kilgore College and became an internationally known Kilgore Rangerette. In her sophomore year, she tried out for and was chosen the first out-of-state Captain of the Rangerettes. After she finished her 2 years at Kilgore she started a dance line at Centenary and received a choreography scholarship that paid for the rest of her education. Vicki Murray (Fulghum) married her high school sweetheart, Hal Fulghum, in 1976. She graduated in 1977 with a degree in primary and secondary education.
Gussie Nell Davis, the originator of the Rangerettes asked Miss Vicki to be an instructor for American Drill Team School. She traveled and taught dance all over the country, she was also selected as one of the original mini Rangerette instructors.
At the age of 23 she quit teaching around the country and stayed home to have her first child, Sara. For years Mrs. Davis asked Vicki to come and teach the Rangerettes' jazz dance at pre-training. She was also hired to teach the Big Tap to the Rangerettes. This went on for 7 years, during this time Miss Vicki had her second daughter Shelly. After having her third child, Melanie, she realized that driving to Kilgore 2 times a week would need to come to an end.
She has since choreographed many area dancelines. She helped originate the Bossier Bearkat Babes, and the Bossier Parish Community College Ladies in Gold. She worked with the Woodlawn Redline and Southwood Silver Spurs dancelines. She was the choreographer for Airline High School and Benton High School. She has had the privilege of meeting and working with many high achieving and hard working young ladies.
In closing Miss Vicki says, "My career reads like a storybook. The greatest thing about it is, it's still a part of my everyday life. I get to teach a young girl something that she thinks is almost impossible. I get to watch her work & work & work some more and then I get to see her succeed! She did it........all by herself! To succeed in life is to learn to work for something, no matter what it is. Be your best, NEVER give up!
Written by former student Emily Bernard for a school social studies project
The following was written by former student and current dance mom Lori Marlow Harper in reference to Miss Vicki
Sunday, May 29, 2016
A Letter to My Daughter's Dance Teacher
I have written this letter in my head a million times. Every time someone ask why I drive across town multiple times a week or why we spend so much money and time on dance I find myself a little defensive because I just can't explain to them why we do it. There just isn't a simple answer.
We just finished our 11th recital or as I call it "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" because it is. Because I get to watch my daughter do something she loves, do something that makes her proud and successful. Her dance teacher gets it. She gets my daughter. Her dance teacher does something nobody else could do for her and I can't thank her enough. That is why we dance.
To My Daughter's Dance Teacher,
Words will never express what you do for my daughter and so many others. There are a million things you do other than teach them to dance. In fact, dance skill is actually last on my list.
You teach them that hard work pays off- There is nothing more satisfying watching a kid who has struggled with a move or a "trick" or a dance finally get it. I watch my girl practice something over and over until she shows up in front of me and says "watch this". You teach them to work hard and success will come. You encourage and push and cheer them on until they feel the thrill of finally getting it. So many times they thought it was impossible, but YOU never did and because YOU believed in them they believed in themselves. You know that quote "She believed she could so she did"? There is another one at my house -"You believed she could so she did"
You teach them independence - When I watch a two year old on stage in front of two thousand people and they do the dance.......on their own....with no one doing it in front of them.. that is impressive. Even at a early age they are learning to be independent. When I listen to you tell the parents before try outs each year that it isn't our responsibility to make them practice or to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to, but it is the dancers responsibility I'm relieved. I'm relieved that the girls who hear you believe that they can take care of themselves and don't always need momma. You are preparing them to become successful women in the real world.
You teach them true beauty - You teach them that they don't have to look like a super model or a Broadway ballerina. You teach them that true beauty comes from being kind, giving and putting others first. I love looking at all of the girls on stage and see that none of them look the same. My daughter calls herself the"freakish giant" because she is so tall. You teach those girls to embrace who they are and never ask them to be somebody they aren't. One day soon my girl will figure out how to control those long legs and when she does... watch out! You teach them how to control their bodies and to be beautiful and graceful. Along with beauty comes pride. You teach them to be proud and graceful young women. They may wear tights and tank tops to the dancing school but they are expected to show up to performances looking like the beautiful young ladies they are. They show up to that arena or performance with their heads held high and smiling from ear to ear.
You teach them loyalty- When they try out to be part of a team they become a part of that team. You teach them that they are important and if they don't pull their weight they will let the team down. Many times my daughter has had make a hard decision to miss a party or a school event or a trip because she had dance practice but in the end she knows that if she isn't loyal to her team she isn't really a part of that team. She take pride in the fact that she is needed. When she is grown she will take this life lesson and will hopefully apply it to her adult life be it a family, a career or any group she chooses to be a part of.
You teach them tough love - We have all seen those crazy dance teachers on TV. That's not real life (and if it is - oh, my goodness!!). You expect them to work hard. You expect them to give 110% .... and when they don't? Well, you let them know. You tell them about it. You don't get in their face and yell, but they know that you expect more. I have seen you get on a girl about not stretching or working hard or knowing a dance and they listen to what you have to say and then .....you give them a hug, tell them they are beautiful, or tell them you are proud of them. Boy, do they hate letting you down.
You teach them that participation trophies aren't real life - Every dancer knows that they aren't promised a spot on the front row. Unless they are really young they don't take turns being in the spot light. Everywhere we look in today's society our kids are being told that they deserve to be the center of the world simply because they exist. I watch parents fight battles with sponsors/coaches/teachers because their kid isn't on the front row or they didn't make a dance they tried out for or they didn't make the team or they did make the team but they aren't the starter. Society is killing our kids. (Sorry, I'll get off my soap box!) I remember my daughter getting in the car one day after practice and bursting into tears because she was "on the back row -again." I was so sad but in my mind I thought "here we go... great opportunity for a life lesson". We had a discussion and came up with two options- #1 You go talk to the teacher and find out why you were put on the back or #2 You go home and work...harder. There was no options#3 - You know, where mom calls and complains. My daughter now tells us that she would rather be a part of a team where you earn your spot than be on the front row because "it's your turn" and that makes this Momma proud.
Along the same lines, you teach them that "yes" means "yes" but sometimes "no"means "not yet " - I remember being so impressed at tryouts and hearing you say not every one is ready for this team, yet. When those girls who didn't make the team are told "not yet" it gives them hope and it pushes them to work hard and to try again. Because really, who know what they can do when they know somebody believes in them.
You teach them confidence - I love going back and looking at those pictures of my daughter crying in class or being carried by her teacher because it shows me how far she has come. She would now be on that stage for hours if you would let her. She is confident and proud and holds her head high. There are so many little girls that start out that way - shy and timid- it's so much fun to watch the transition each year. You bring out the self assurance that will take these young women into the real world ready to succeed. They won't settle for second best because they know they have an opportunity to be what ever they want to be.
You teach them that women can take a dream and turn it into a reality and in the process become strong, independent business women - They watch you run your business. They have watched as the studio has grown and become more and more successful. They know hat you value organization and a well run studio. They see the small details that you take care of to make the business side of thing go flawlessly. They watch you share your business with your daughters and how they are beginning to walk in your footsteps. I love the pictures on the wall of all the studios. Boy, you have come a long way since I started in that little garage so many years ago!
You teach that family comes first - They watch as you and your family works together. They love your daughters more than anyone and really, who doesn't? They watch you love on your grandchildren and never push them away when you are busy. They watch your husband and grandsons work hard to make sure everything is perfect for a performance. They love your family as if it is their own.
You also teach that family isn't always blood - The dancing school is a home away from home, a safe place and a family. I have watched you comfort girls who have lost parents for an number of reasons. I have watched as you and your daughters step in for girls when their mothers have been deployed, walked out on the family or worse. There is no telling the heart to heart talks those walls have heard. So many times you are the voice of assurance and wisdom and simply a shoulder to cry on. I am so thankful my daughter has people like that in her life.
You teach them that friends are forever - I see the life long friendships that are formed. I watch the little girls who hold hands in the three year old class perform the most beautiful Senior dance together at their last recital . I see all of the girls who come back each year just to see their friends. I watch all of the girls cheer for each other on all of their social media accounts when they try out for college teams or even the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders! My daughter is one of very few girls from our area of town. I love the fact that she has made friends from all over the city!
You teach them unconditional love - Most importantly you love my daughter. So many people say they are Christians but you truly walk your talk. You love like Jesus does. You love her like she is your own. I don't know how you do it but you know every one of those hundreds of girls by name. (You know, I can't even get my own three kids right half the time!) You and your daughters go into every single class and love on those girls.
And they love you....so,so,so much!
And so do I :)