Kelsey Ragin’s path towards stardom

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The four pictures to the right are from Ragin’s performances on World of Dance. The upper left photo shows an interview of Dancetown Divas on WOD and the bottom left photo is of Ragin’s costume for the AGT semifinals. (Photos submitted/Kelsey Ragin)

Talent competition shows are a great way to gain exposure and experience in the entertainment industry. Junior Kelsey Ragin joined her dance group, Dancetown Divas to participate in Season 3 of World of Dance (WOD) and the latest season of America’s Got Talent (AGT). Ragin began dancing at age four, and has continued the past 12 years. Five years ago she began dancing at Dancetown in Miami; she is now part of the competition team, performing solos and group dances. At school, she is on a dance scholarship, requiring her to be a part of Dance Ensemble and the Patriot Dancers. 

In addition to her love of dance, Ragin also enjoys being in the spotlight, leading her to pursue a career in dance so she can work with top notch choreographers and other dancers. “I like to dance because dance comes natural to me, and it’s a way for me to express my emotions,” Ragin said. 

Two years ago, Ragin had the chance to audition for World of Dance Season 3 with her dance group, consisting of 15 girls. The group practiced all kinds of styles, but mainly performed ballroom and hip-hop on the show. The audition process for World of Dance was time consuming because director Manny Castro had to find 15 girls to be a part of a dance group, per the producers’ requests.

The producers gave feedback on choreography about what to keep and what to change as the group progressed through rounds. As they kept advancing, they finally reached the round which involved the main stage in Los Angeles. During filming, Ragin had the chance to meet contestants on The Voice, which was being filmed at the time. World of Dance judges Derek Hough, NE-YO and Jennifer Lopez came backstage to introduce themselves and give some advice before the group performed. 

The group’s final performance was in the semifinals, where they performed a dance to Run the World by Beyoncé. Ragin performed the lead role. Jennifer Lopez was their mentor for this round, meaning she coached the girls so that they’d be at their best. 

“It was such a surreal moment. Being that I am the only African American at my studio, I was honored to embrace the role of the queen herself, Beyoncé. This was one of the biggest moments of my life with millions of people watching,” Ragin said. 

After their exposure in Los Angeles, different TV networks such as Telemundo invited the girls to do an interview and perform. 

Recently, Ragin was on America’s Got Talent with dance group  Dancetown Family, consisting of 49 people from ages 8-35. Dancetown Family performed Ballroom and Swing dances, choreographed by Manny Castro, and, again, made it to the semifinals. During the audition process, the group sent in several videos to the producers, who made suggestions to improve their choreography. 

Due to the complications from the Coronavirus, Ragin and her group couldn’t travel to Los Angeles to perform. Instead AGT’s camera crew flew to South Fla. and filmed their performance. For the presentation, hair stylists did the girls’ hair into old fashioned updos, and moms spent hours rhinestoning costumes. Through both shows, Ragin was able to gain dance experience in front of millions of people on camera as well as knowledge of the audition process and meet others in the business, like the judges of World of Dance.

Nithisha, a sophomore at American Heritage, is starting her first year on newspaper staff. Besides writing and reading, Nithisha enjoys many artistic hobbies, like painting, sewing and crocheting. She spends most of her time either studying, pursuing one of her hobbies or watching "Gilmore Girls." A total book nerd, she tries to read as often and as many books as possible.

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