Everything has gone virtual since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States — even dance tryouts.
For three-sport Glynn Academy athlete, LaNeia Taylor, she had to try out virtually for the Jackson State University’s Sonic Boom Prancing J-Sette Dance team.
Taylor said the audition process was stressful and nerve-racking, especially since it was all virtual. This tryout lasted about a week, but the preparation lasted for months.
She said to be able to tryout, Taylor had to go online and submit an application. Then she received an email with more details.
Taylor said it was an elimination tryout process that lasted a week with three rounds.
“Round one, you had to submit a video interview answering questions they gave you to the best of your ability,” Taylor said. “If you made it to round two, you had to submit a posed picture, agilities – dance kicks, splits and other stunts – stage presence and one individual dance.
“You would receive emails throughout the tryout letting you know if you made it to the next round or not, so whenever you make it to the third round, they would send an email letting you know that you’ve advanced. They also sent a video of the former captain showing a dance that you had one day to learn and submit the next day.”
Taylor said she spent two to three months preparing for the audition and spent a good portion of her life taking dance classes and learning that style.
While it was stressful to do the whole process virtually, she said it wasn’t hard to do.
“Trying out virtually was not difficult at all, and I think I would’ve liked it better than trying out in front of judges,” Taylor said. “I was able to try again when I messed up during the virtual tryouts, and I know that if I were in front of judges, I wouldn’t be able to do so.”
At Glynn Academy, Taylor was a cheerleader, basketball player and ran track. As a three-sport athlete, she knows what it means to sacrifice and overcome adversities.
However, of all the sports she played, dance was the one she loved most.
“I love to showcase my talent to others,” Taylor said. “When I dance, I can just let go and forget everything else that’s going on at the moment. It gives me some kind of rush that other sports I participated in didn’t.”
After trying out, it only took one day to find out she achieved a dream she worked so hard to accomplish.
“I was so overwhelmed and excited. My whole family was just in shock. We were jumping up and down and celebrating as soon as we found out,” Taylor said. “I’m so honored and blessed to be able to finally be rewarded with this after so much training and all the obstacles I had to face to get here.”
This dream was something she wanted to do since working with one of her coaches.
“One of the coaches that I trained with is a former twirler at the school. His name is Dexter Brown,” Taylor said. “He introduced me to the school and the J-Settes. I instantly fell in love with their style of dance and knew that I wanted to be a J-Sette one day.”
Taylor will study biology at Jackson State University and is looking forward to getting started with the J-Settes.
“As a J-Sette, I look forward to becoming a stronger dancer and just being able to show younger dancers that with hard work and dedication, you can make your dreams come true,” Taylor said.