Usta News

Black History Month Spotlight: Elaine Jones( Thu, Feb 4 00:02:AM)


Elaine Jones is a former USTA and NBTA competitor, coach, Illinois Baton Council President, USTA Certified Coach and Level II Judge from Illinois.

“I began baton twirling and ballet under Charlotte Kerstien at the Broadview Park District. Her son, Tommy, was a Boys National Champion in NBTA. I started taking lessons from her when I was nine years old. When I was 15, she called in Marlys Hinson from a neighboring town to help. Marlys was USTA. So, I began going to NBTA and USTA contests pretty much concurrently. When I was 18, I decided to take private lessons from Ginny Schiewe, who had been a student of Brooks Going. I was able to make it up to doing four turns, Fujimi rolls and high toss illusions.

Most of the time that I've twirled I have been in the minority, but I never really wake up every morning and see myself as a minority, although I'm sure others do. I just do me.

During the time I was earning my bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, I was also a member of my college dance team at Triton College.

I decided to become a judge because I feel I'm good at adjudication and understand baton, having competed in Solo, 2-Baton, X-Strut, Dance Twirl and USTA strut. I've been a judge for several organizations.

I began working with the Illinois Baton Council under Bobbi Mae back in the late '70's as secretary. I would never have imagined that I would run our State Championships or become the council president, but both are roles I have enjoyed.

As a teacher I enjoy imparting to my students many of the values that I've gotten from twirling, including determination and perseverance. I hope that everyone will strive to look at people from the inside and what they have to offer, and not their outer shell regardless of what that outer shell or personification is.

Keep twirling!”