Sing alumna returns to choreograph for Phi Gamma Delta

Kendall Burton, recent Baylor graduate, has returned to campus to use her talents from serving as a Zeta Tau Alpha Sing Chair and as a Baylor Songleader. Photo courtesy of Reilly Tarte

By Erika Kuehl | Staff Writer

If Baylor alumna Kendall Burton can command a room full of college men, she can do anything.

Burton currently works for the Houston Texans Cheerleaders and choreographs for high school drill teams on the side — but ever since Mission senior and Phi Gamma Delta Sing chair Christian Cavazos reached out to her in October, she has been collaborating with the fraternity to choreograph its All-University Sing act.

“She completely streamlined everything for us and was just always open and available to answer questions and to kind of fix things,” Cavazos said. “There were a few practices that I would text her in the middle of practice and ask for help, and she had an answer for me immediately. Being able to work with her and her coming on to help us has been the most amazing experience I could have ever asked for with any choreographer.”

Burton said she has been choreographing since she was in high school and has always had a talent for it.

“I’m not good with words, but I’m really good at movement,” Burton said. “I feel like dance is a wonderful way to get a point across or tell a story, and so that’s my favorite part of choreography — telling a story.”

Last year, Burton was a Sing chair for Zeta Tau Alpha. She said there have been significant differences between working with Zeta and working with FIJI.

“For teaching an all-girl group in the past, there’s probably around a third of the group [that] has either danced in high school or has some sort of dance background that they can help teach and catch up on choreography quick,” Burton said. “With the guys, none of these guys have had dance experience besides Sing, and so it’s a lot different teaching a group full of mostly beginners compared to a group who’s had advanced dancers.”

However, Burton said one of her favorite parts about choreographing for FIJI is the group’s adaptability.

“I think it’s the fact that they trusted me to do my thing, and even if something seems a little weird or funky at first, they’re down to try whatever I throw at them,” Burton said. “Sometimes in the past, I’ve had ideas that will get some strange looks, but they’ve been down for anything.”

Last year was the first time FIJI participated in Sing in three years. Cavazos said many members hadn’t performed in Sing during their time at Baylor, so Burton provided clarity and direction.

“[She was not only] a choreographer but also just a really good friend to our chapter and sitting us down and saying, ‘You guys can do this, but it’s up to you,’” Cavazos said. “Kendall has been so amazing, and we don’t want all of her hard work to be in vain.”

Burton said seeing Zeta’s act from last Sing season at Pigskin Revue was a very touching moment, and she would love to come back to choreograph another act in the future.

“I can imagine I’m going to get the same sense of being humbled and proud in the work I do, because I am proud of the work I put on stage and I give to my clients,” Burton said. “And so seeing them enjoy it and then put on an amazing act, that brings me a lot of happiness. It’ll be nice to sit from the audience this time.”

Burton said she wishes good luck to the members of FIJI performing in Sing.

“I’m super proud of them,” Burton said. “I have not been easy on them in terms of choreography. I’ve been challenging them every step of the way, and they have not faltered one bit. So I just want them to know that I’m super proud of them, and I can’t wait to watch them.”