Castle High School senior makes history as first male varsity dancer

Photo by Jeff Tron

Castle High School senior Sam Shultz, the first male to join the varsity dance team, is pictured here with the rest of the Chargerettes.

Castle High School senior Sam Schultz is the first male to join the varsity dance team, also known as the iconic Chargerettes.

The Chargerettes perform a variety of dances during football and basketball games and Schultz joined just in time for second semester, senior year.

But this isn’t the 18-year-old’s first dance with the varsity team, having performed with them last year randomly for fun, at the request of Chargerettes’ coach Amanda Antey. She is also the choreographer for several musicals Schultz has starred in during his tenure at CHS.

“Amanda was like, ‘I think it would be cool if you got in the Knight outfit and danced with us,’” Schultz said. “I was like, ‘we’ll see.’ And then I did it and I had a great time.”

And he’s a dual performer in the group, most of the times dressed up as the school’s mascot, Sir Cecil, to pump up the crowds during routines.

“When we do more hip-hop dances, I’m the Knight, but I think we’re doing a jazz dance for one of the games and I won’t be in the outfit,” Schultz said. “So, that will be interesting because no one has actual seen me out of the suit.”

The school even had a special program to honor Sir Cecil at the start of the new year, named after formal CHS principal, Cecil Raymond, who passed away in Aug. 2019.

“Everyone says, ‘He was the biggest fan of Castle.’ He’d walk in and say, ‘I love being here,’” Schultz said. “It’s honestly an honor because he is a well respected guy and to be able to be him for a little bit is pretty cool.”

While the rest of the Chargerette dancers have been quite receptive to Schultz joining the team.

“They have been very nice,” he said. “Me and two of the seniors are actually choreographing another dance later on.”

The Chargerettes hosted their Disney themed dance clinic on Saturday, Jan. 11, but Schultz was unfortunately unable to attend, due to one of his many extra curricular activity commitments.

“I had to go to All-State Choir practice,” he said. “I also do theatre and I am the vice president and dance captain for the Knight Sensations, our showchoir. That’s fun and starting to get into full swing.”

Although Schultz hates missing out on a Chargerettes’ performance, he knows being a part of the state’s choir is also quite special.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it when I auditioned,” he said. “So, it was a nice surprise when I got in.”

As for his dance experience, theatre is what first introduced Schultz to the art form.

“I’ve only been really dancing for six or seven years and even then, it hasn’t been very technical, so you have all of these very seasoned girls who have been dancing since they were two or three and here I am,” Schultz. “But I can keep up, especially with hip hop stuff, because it’s not as technique based. It’s more, ‘Throw your arms and legs and it’ll look good.’”

Although Schultz may not have years of formal dance training under his belt, his charisma, dedication and passion make him the perfect addition to the dance team.

“I like getting out there and entertaining people,” he said.

In terms of post-graduation plans, Schultz is still debating between Indiana University and Butler University, but one thing he is sure of is his plan to study psychology.

“Unfortunately, [those schools] don’t have mascots, well Butler has a dog, but it’s a literal dog,” Schultz said. “I mean, I’ll always do it. It’s just a fun thing to do.”

Although it’s not lost on Schultz how becoming the first male to join the normally female based varsity dance team is creating a positive impact on the Chargerette’s legacy, while also opening up the door for future men to join.

“A few months ago, it was National Dance Day and there was this whole stigma on Facebook of, ‘Guys can dance too,’” Schultz said. “Because it’s usually a female dominated profession, but it’s very true. Guys do dance. And I don’t think here in Southern Indiana, it’s as much as known, but it’s a really fun thing I think anybody can do and it’s really cool I get to be the first. And I really hope it will start a trend for the future of guys to join the team.”

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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