Twin sisters Breanne and Britney Gardner, 18, have scored a double victory by both being accepted into the 75th anniversary lineup of the famed Kilgore College Rangerettes precision dance team.
The Gardners, who were co-captains of the Saginaw High School Starsteppers before their graduation this spring, tried out last week in the East Texas city of Kilgore for spots on the Rangerettes. By the time they left town, they were posing with other winners for a 2014-15 freshman class Rangerettes portrait for the organization’s website.
“Our feet haven’t hit the ground yet,” said the twins’ mother, D’Ann Gardner, who expressed relief that both girls made the cut.
The twins acknowledged having feared that one sister might advance and the other be left behind.
“But our dancing abilities are very identical,” Breanne said. “We thought if they didn’t take one of us, it would be really weird.”
D’Ann and her husband, Les, along with the twins’ grandparents, have cheered them on since they began dancing as little girls. Breanne and Britney are the Gardners’ only children.
“At first, when our mom put us in dance class, she thought we wouldn’t take it seriously,” said Britney. “But we went on a competition team for our dance studio when we were about 9 and then went on to our dance team in high school.”
“It’s definitely been a journey,” she said.
The weeklong tryout process for earning a Rangerette spot was grueling for everyone, D’Ann Gardner said.
Breanne termed it “stressful, but very exciting, overwhelming.”
A trip to a dance wear shop to buy Rangerette-approved gear helped remind the Gardners how prestigious and well-known the Rangerettes are. They were mobbed by young fans.
“They took our picture for Twitter and got us to kick for them,” said Breanne. “It’s definitely cool.”
They understand that many would-be Rangerettes left the tryouts disappointed and even heartbroken.
“It was extremely sad to see the girls who didn’t make it,” Breanne said. “They were crying, and their parents were holding them up. At least 50 of them didn’t make it. Only 36 did.”
Kilgore is a two-year college. The Rangerettes lineup includes 72 members: 36 freshmen and 36 sophomores.
The Gardner girls have been best friends and each other’s toughest critics throughout their dance and drill team careers.
“It’s really nice that you have a sister that understands what you’re going through,” Britney said. “It made everything so much easier. It was also nice having her in the family, critiquing me. We’re hard on each other.”
Breanne hasn’t settled on a major yet, but she is considering computer graphics and Web design. She is also considering dance and would like to have her own dance studio someday.
Britney has decided to major in biology. That way, she said, she can teach during the school day and then help out with the drill team after classes.
For their parents, it’s a little bittersweet.
“We’re about to be empty-nesters, but we’ll be traveling a lot,” said D’Ann Gardner. “We’ll be going to every football game, waiting to see where they will be performing. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful opportunity.”