There’s just something about dancing that brings undeniable joy to those who do it — especially if you’ve been told you can’t do it and are then given the chance to prove everybody wrong.
Enter the HoneyBeez, a plus-size dance team at Alabama State University founded by band director James Oliver in 2004. When Oliver first joined the staff of ASU, he was heartbroken every time someone tried out for and was rejected by the Stingettes dance troupe because of their size.
“I would put them on the flag line,” he told AL.com, “and you could see the disappointment in their faces that they couldn’t dance.”
So he invited a few band members to help him form a new group that would do some “club dancing and a little street dancing” during the Marching Hornet Band’s halftime shows.
After their first performance in 2004, the crowd went wild — though several people approached Oliver afterward to ask why he was making fun of those girls by having them perform such high-energy dance moves. After some soul-searching, during which he wondered whether he should just pull the plug, he decided they should forge ahead. After all, the women loved it.
“I made the decision that I was going to keep going,” Oliver told The Undefeated. “I didn’t care what anybody said. I thought these girls deserved a platform and I’m going to keep them.”
Now, all of the band’s shows build to a finale that culminated in a performance by the HoneyBeez, and Oliver reports that they receive a standing ovation every time: