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The final dance: Señor’s troupe brings home ribbons in finale

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019
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The troupe

THE TROUPE – Decatur High School’s flamenco troupe, led by Spanish teacher Terry “Señor” Stewart, won two blue ribbons for excellence in execution of classic Spanish dance at the Pan-American Student Forum March 2 in San Antonio. Submitted photo

The stage was set, the black and red uniforms were pressed, and as the music reverberated through the speakers, 31 Decatur flamenco dancers moved as one.

A flash of Spain gracefully swirled across the stage, as the flamenco troupe, known as the “Crown Jewel of Decatur High School” emphatically danced at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.

The troupe’s longtime instructor, Señor Terry Stewart, watched with pride as his students from across a spectrum of backgrounds moved in rhythm with each other.

“That’s what’s special, how they come together,” Stewart said.

After the judges from the Pan American Student Forum deliberated, the team decked out in black and red brought home the blue. The troupe won two blue ribbons for excellence in execution of classical Spanish dance.

It was the fitting sendoff for Stewart, who is retiring in May. He started the flamenco troupe when he came to Decatur High School 20 years ago.

“It was real special. The performances were flawless,” Stewart said. “What better end for me?”

For Stewart, his journey through flamenco – a dramatic Spanish dance characterized by hand clapping, percussive footwork and intricate hand, arm and body movements – started in 1992 when he was teaching Spanish at James Bowie High School in Arlington.

A school carnival to celebrate 500 years since Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas in 1492 set the course for Stewart’s to teach flamenco.

“We had to come up with an idea, so I thought, why not a flamenco dance from Spain?” Stewart said. “It proliferated, and when I came to Decatur, it really grew.”

In 20 years teaching Flamenco at Decatur, the troupe has grown from a handful of dancers to 31 this year. He’s taught football players, students in FFA and drama students the dance.

“I’ve taught everyone from football players to pig showers,” Stewart said. “We have a hodgepodge.”

Salute to senor

SALUTE TO SEÑOR – Decatur Spanish teacher Terry “Señor” Stewart and Decatur exchange student Eva de Frutos Martinez pose for a photo ahead of the flamenco troupe’s performance. This is Stewart’s last year teaching the flamenco troupe after leading the program to 40 blue ribbons over 20 years. Submitted photo

Every year students found a niche with the team, coming together through the attitudinal dance. The goal for Stewart was to impart cultural understanding of Spain to coincide with teaching the language, whether it be the class trips to Spain or through flamenco.

“I’ve always wanted to impart the culture with the grammar,” Stewart said.

In the process, Stewart and the flamenco troupe have impacted Decatur’s culture.

“It’s a big program out here in Decatur,” Stewart said. “It’s part of the culture here.”

Stewart has seen the troupe win 40 ribbons over the last 20 years.

“When I came to Wise County, I thought, ‘I doubt this will really grow out here,’ thinking it’s country. But no. It’s done better here than it’s done in Arlington,” he said.

The two ribbons this year were as special as any of them to Stewart, who said he spent much of his trip attempting to soak in every memory and moment of the pilgrimage to San Antonio.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work,” Stewart said. “It was a great end for me.”

One Response to “The final dance: Señor’s troupe brings home ribbons in finale”

  1. Skip Nichols says:

    Senor Terry Stewart has been a standout teacher in many ways for Decatur High School. With his retirement, his service to students and parents will be greatly missed. Thanks for all you’ve done, Senor!

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