Marching band performances at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are unparalleled – the thunderous beats and syncopated steps of the band invigorating the crowd, the choreography of the dance line bringing each song to life. Each element creates an experience that is unique to HBCU culture. This season will follow former captain J’aime Griffith as she takes over the program from a legendary director of 38 years, while also re-establishing the work ethic needed from every dancer to uphold the elite status of the Orchesis Dance Company (ODC) at Grambling State University. Step into the practices, classrooms, and communities of this treasured sisterhood and explore what it takes to epitomize the Orchesis.
“Marching Band performances are a fundamental element of life at HBCUs as the center of culture shaping the HBCU experience,” said Paul. “Dancers bring the HBCU culture to life and demonstrate school pride through unity and showmanship. This season on Why Not Us, the talented Grambling Dance program will show audiences the drive and focus it takes to come together and breathe life into those performances.”
Presented by Andscape, Why Not Us: Grambling Dance is produced by Roadside Entertainment, Paul’s Ohh Dip!!! Productions, and ESPN+. Like previous seasons Why Not Us, which followed the North Carolina Central men’s basketball team, FAMU’s football program, Southern University’s dance team, and Howard University’s golf program, Why Not Us: Grambling Dance will examine the distinct culture, experiences and challenges of an HBCU athletic program. The series spotlights the importance of these remarkable schools and how they have done more with less.
The debut schedule for this season is as follows:
Episode 1: Everybody is Somebody
As the new director of the Orchesis Dance Company, J’aime Griffith looks to continue her predecessor’s legacy of excellence. First on the agenda, choosing a captain.
Debuts Wednesday, October 4
Episode 2: Earning Your Spot
The Orchesis have their first auditions for a pep rally performance at Grambling. Essence contemplates her future with the dance company.
Debuts Wednesday, October 11
Episode 3: A Clean Five
It’s the first game of the season, and nerves impact the Orchesis during auditions. J’aime overextends herself as she juggles her responsibilities.
Debuts Wednesday, October 18
Episode 4: The Energy Enforcer
J’aime brings in an Orchesis alum to inject some energy into the team. Gaja hopes to perform in her hometown, but it doesn’t go as planned.
Debuts Wednesday, October 25
Episode 5: That’s Orchesis’ Style
For the first home game, J’aime hopes to wow the crowd by adding challenging elements to the Orchesis’ performance. Ebony gets an opportunity to choreograph a future routine for the Orchesis.
Debuts Wednesday, November 1
Episode 6: Commit Fully
During a week jam packed with three performances, some veteran dancers struggle with time management, and suffer the consequences. J’aime depends on an inexperienced group to take the field.
Debuts Wednesday, November 8
Episode 7: Happy Homecoming
It’s homecoming week at Grambling, and the Orchesis alumni return to share wisdom and celebrate the current members. Expectations are high for a stellar performance, and Laila hopes her growth will secure her first game day selection.
Debuts Wednesday, November 15
Episode 8: No Half Stepping
The biggest performance of the season goes down in New Orleans against rival Southern University. J’aime sends shockwaves through the Orchesis and forgoes tradition to determine the final roster for Bayou Classic.
Debuts Wednesday, November 22