When someone mentions dancing, acting and modeling in 6-inch heels they may think of Beyoncé, but Shippensburg University’s ELITE Modeling Troupe is also synonymous with these things.
ELITE Modeling Troupe was founded in 2008 by SU student Jerome Walker, who hoped to compete with other state schools that had modeling troupes. Walker also wanted to create a place where people who are interested in modeling can practice their skills.
ELITE focuses on confidence and uses it to drive ELITE’s fashion shows and performances. The group performs mostly on campus, but plans on incorporating traveling to other schools this semester.
“ELITE helped me build my own confidence and express who I am,” said Terrell Henry, ELITE’s student advisor and parliamentary. “There wasn’t many places on campus for me to do that.”
The group is known for its showcases and events on campus where members demonstrate runway skills, dancing skills and sometimes acting. Each member is required to participate in runway walking. During practices the members are taught choreography and given tips on modeling.
“Everyone has to walk in heels, 6-inch heels to be exact,” ELITE President Zamiah Chyna Gram said. “If you can dance that is a plus.”
ELITE is not just about modeling, it is about self-expression and building self-confidence through modeling. The core values of the troupe include family, teamwork and creative freedom.
“Being a part of ELITE has helped me build my confidence and made me more friendly,” Gram said. “It also taught me how to be a leader.”
Unlike traditional modeling, one does not have to be incredibly tall or the slim to be a part of ELITE. The troupe preaches self-worth and love through its performances.
ELITE is also in association with the Multicultural Student Affairs on campus and hopes to attract people from all walks of life.
“If you have some sort of confidence, we can work with you,” Gram said. “Diversity is something we are always looking to build on.”
ELITE plans on pushing success in the classroom as one of its main focuses this semester.
“We love to have fun with what we are doing, but education is No. 1,” Gram said. “We want all of our members to be in good academic standing so that we can all participate in events and performances.”
The group plans on accomplishing its academic goals by holding study groups for ELITE members to help encourage each other and continue to build its family atmosphere.
ELITE has not released an official event schedule for this semester, but Gram says that it is very busy with practices and performances this fall.
ELITE is not holding anymore open tryouts this semester, but interested individuals can contact the troupe’s president, Zamiah Chyna Gram at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. To stay up to date with upcoming events and performances, follow ELITE on Instagram @elite_modelingtroupe.