Monday, November 21, 2022
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The Savannah Bananas – Dance Informa Journal

At first look, Dance Informa looks as if the final place to function an article on a summer season collegiate baseball crew, however the Savannah Bananas, based mostly in Savannah, Georgia, are greater than a baseball crew. Well-known for his or her “Banana Ball” in addition to their TikTok movies, Bananaland has captured the hearts of many throughout the nation. The Bananas’ motto is “Followers First. Entertain All the time,” and attending a sport at Grayson Stadium will earn you the possibility to see what some attendees liken to a Broadway present.

Photo courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.
The Savannah Bananas vs. The Kansas Metropolis Monarchs. Picture courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.

Dance Informa had the pleasure of chatting with Zack Frongillo, Savannah Bananas’ director of leisure. Frongillo has a dance and sports activities background and has been concerned within the sports activities leisure world for a number of years. He attended the College of Nevada, Las Vegas for Dance Efficiency and Choreography. 

A possibility with Vegas’ Golden Knights hockey crew launched Frongillo to the sunshine of sports activities leisure which in the end led him to the Savannah Bananas. “Sports activities leisure is one thing that not lots of people take into consideration, as a result of once you go to a sporting occasion, you clearly are there for the game, however that’s not essentially the case right here in Bananaland.” Many are intrigued with Banana Ball, however followers know to count on a present!

The Bananas have one thing for everybody: “The World’s Slowest Race” that includes crawling toddlers; The Banana Nanas, a senior dance squad; The Man-anas, dad-bod cheerleaders; The Banana Splitz, a pre-teen dance squad; and the latest addition, “Dancing with the Bananas”, a dance competitors that includes six gamers and 6 ballerinas from Savannah Ballet Theatre. Not solely are there alternatives for fan involvement but additionally important participation from the gamers. 

The crew is continually brainstorming methods to “Entertain All the time.” “Jesse (Bananas’ proprietor) and I’ll do concept periods,” Frongillo says. “We used to generate 10 concepts a day, however that’s modified, and we now have OTT conferences – Over the Prime moments – these are the moments all through the sport that basically showcase what makes us completely different. We ask, ‘What are folks going to see at a baseball sport that they’ve by no means seen earlier than?’… an OTT second.”

Photo courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.
Picture courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.

The Savannah Bananas are passionate and motivated to attach with followers and supply particular moments for them within the park. “The large factor for us is we break down the barrier between participant and followers,” Frongillo explains. “We’ve guys who go up within the crowd each sport and hand a rose to somewhat lady. We ship gamers into the gang to shake army servicemen/veterans’ arms. The whole lot that we do could be very intentional. Additionally, the buy-in from our guys is unmatched. We’ve gamers doing full choreographed dances on the sector.” 

Merging baseball with choreographed dances is sudden, however the Bananas prioritize selecting the best folks to hitch them. “Our head coach talks on a regular basis about how we’re not on the lookout for one of the best gamers on the sector; we’re on the lookout for the proper folks with the proper attitudes – nice human beings on and off the sector,” says Frongillo. “For the pro-team, we have now a tryout which features a TikTok part and dancing part; it’s not all about baseball. It at all times comes again to on the lookout for the proper folks, not one of the best gamers.”

A baseball tryout incorporating TikTok and dancing wouldn’t make sense to the seasoned baseball fan, however a lot of the Savannah Bananas’ fame has come from their social media presence. When requested which movies stood out to Frongillo, he talked about their 3-2-2 movies. “The three-2-2 is a second throughout Banana Ball, third inning, second batter, second pitch. This second has bought us over 100 million views on TikTok alone – over a few completely different movies. The pitcher, brief cease, second baseman and catcher all do a choreographed dance proper earlier than a pitch. They do the dance, after which he goes instantly right into a pitch.” 

Savannah Bananas' Ballet First Base Coach. Photo courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.
Savannah Bananas’ Ballet First Base Coach. Picture courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.

First Base Coach Maceo Harrison isn’t solely coach but additionally choreographer for many of the Bananas’ dances. “We’ve the world’s solely and biggest dancing first base coach,” Frongillo shares. “He joined us in 2018, and is incredible. He dances the third, fourth and seventh inning of each sport, and choreographs all of the participant dances – a staple in our sport.”

Dance Informa readers might particularly benefit from the Savannah Bananas’ ballet-dancing first base coach video, starring Frongillo! “One of many extra viral movies on our TikTok was the ballet dancing first baseman, and that one was me. Maceo had informed us earlier within the 12 months that he couldn’t be at this sport. We weren’t capable of finding a substitute, so I hopped on the market. The video went loopy, and that, in flip, introduced me again to Savannah Ballet Theatre, and now I’m dancing professionally once more.”  

Banana Nanas. Photo courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.
Banana Nanas. Picture courtesy of the Savannah Bananas.

The Bananas have struck a chord with folks of all ages, not simply baseball lovers however most people, too. When requested what they credit score for his or her success, Frongillo shares, “It begins on the high. Jesse is with the followers on a regular basis. There’s no different proprietor within the nation who’s so in contact with the followers. We’re additionally a really shut entrance workplace – our Followers First Director does an ideal job bringing in folks. You could possibly have all of the accolades on the planet, however in case you don’t match our tradition, the ‘Followers First, Entertain All the time’ mentality, you’ll by no means slot in right here. It begins there after which it’s residing, respiration, at all times being Followers First.”

From eliminating ads within the park, to offering $20 all-you-can-eat tickets, to the creation of fast-paced Banana Ball, each resolution the Savannah Bananas makes is filtered by way of their Followers First, Entertain All the time mission. And it’s paying off – the ready listing for tickets is over 60,000 names! For these unable to get tickets, ESPN+ is releasing a six-episode documentary, Bananaland, this summer season.

Subsequent 12 months, the Savannah Bananas World Tour is planning to journey to much more cities to satisfy the excessive demand for Banana Ball. Preserve a watch out, as they could play close to you! 

Comply with the newest Bananas information on social media: @thesavbananas.

By Melody McTier of Dance Informa.



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