Reyna Banks is entering her first season as head coach of the cheerleading squad.
New Sierra Canyon cheerleading coach Reyna Joy Banks has followed this philosophy throughout a distinguished career.
Dancing alongside Beyonce, Usher, Toni Braxton and a young Justin Bieber, including Beyonce’s “Run the World” campaign. Collaborating with the likes of Kanye West, Chaka Khan, Ne-Yo and gospel stars Travis Greene, MAJOR and Kierra Sheard. Choreographing for the Grammys, BET Awards and Billboard Awards.
There have been TV shows – including Victorious with Ariana Grande and Hollywood Divas with Elise Neal – radio shows and commercials. She has written books, started her own international dance foundations and served as a motivational speaker.
Now Banks will attempt to elevate Sierra Canyon’s cheerleading squad to complement the school’s other high-profile sports programs.
“I go off my peace and what feels good – this felt good,” the 33-year-old Banks said. “We’re going to release the sound of the school.”
Banks has always had a grand vision since she started dancing when she was 8 and cheerleading at age 10. She attended Alta Loma High and then Dance and Radio-Television-Film at Cal State Fullerton.
Banks served as a cheerleader coach at Ontario Christian HIgh, Alta Loma and Pasadena City College. She also had her down dance studio – Joy to Dance – in Rancho Cucamonga.
Banks had roles in commercials for Nike, Adidas and Sketchers. She worked at radio station KJLH that features Steve Harvey, established a strong reputation with her voiceover work and was the first Princess Tiana at Disney’s El Capitan Theater.
By age 15, Banks was appearing on Soul Train. At 17, Banks was front and center in Usher’s popular “Yeah” video in 2003. Banks worked with Ne-Yo on the 2009 BET Awards.
Then there was Beyonce in 2011 during the “Run the World” tour and Chaka Khan in 2012.
Banks also was instrumental in Kanye West’s “Sunday Services” program.
Her book “30-Day Journey to Loving the Woman in Me” was published in 2015.
Banks helped found the Dance to Lift program which taught the art of dancing in several U.S. cities. Banks then established the program herself in Botswana and South Africa while helping expand to Japan, Brazil and the Philippines.
Banks also established Dance2LIVVV to provide artists with housing and other essentials to help launch their careers.
“If I say yes to something, I am going to give it 150 trillion percent,” Banks said. “That’s just the way I am.”
When Dr. Holly Carter – a friend and a TV producer – called Banks to tell her about an opening as a cheerleader coach for her daughter’s team at Sierra Canyon, Banks said she was intrigued.
“I was super excited about it,” Banks said. “Everything I do I do in the name of my Heavenly Father, and I want to be a light for other people.”
Now comes the business of taking Sierra Canyon cheerleading to the next level.
Banks does not intend to enter Sierra Canyon in national competitions. Rather Banks plans to build a Sierra Canyon brand and build off what returning assistant coach Solene Flores has helped establish.
Most of all, Banks wants to establish a strong foundation for the girls.
“I just want the girls to know they have worth and they are worthy of being the best,” Banks said. “I’ve had three days with them and I love them already. I will be there for them. I will be present for them. I will not let them down.”
Banks said she has eight “ride or die” cheerleaders on board and hopes to keep augmenting that number.
Banks has already established Journey Carter and Lucky Kyles as captains and Gianna Marshall and Jennifer Kaplan as co-captains after the girls completed an application process that included submitting a video and essay.
“I was blown away by their essays,” Banks said. “And Journey created a routine last year that brought the crowd to its feet. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Banks saw an immediate area she wanted to address to elevate her squad.
“The first thing we have to do is to get everyone on the same level on the jumps,” Banks said.
Banks unleashed suicide drills on the first day – a first for several of the cheerleaders – and established hardcore conditioning at the beginning and end of each practice. Banks also had them add ankle weights to give them the strength to make better jumps.
“Every cheer squad should be pumping iron,” Banks said, laughing.