Opening up to a world of dance

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Imagine dancing for world-renowned judges. Now imagine NBC broadcasting that performance on national television. Freshman Kelsey Ragin had the opportunity to live this fantasy with her dance group, the Dancetown Divas.

Ragin and her group, who specialize in ballroom and jazz dancing, appear on the third season of NBC’s “World of Dance,” a competitive dance show where professional judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough critique and mentor dance acts of various sizes and ages.

Although this is her first year dancing with the Dancetown Divas, Ragin has been dancing since she was four years old.

“We were passing Publix and a dance studio was right next to it, and my parents signed me up,” Ragin said.

Not limited to the ballroom-jazz mix of her current dance troupe, Ragin knows many types of dance, including hip-hop and ballet, but ballroom and hip-hop still make the top of her list.

“I’ve always loved [dancing],”  Ragin said. “I’ve always enjoyed [hip-hop and ballroom dancing] more. I think it’s easiest to get for me.”

Ragin participates in the Heritage dance ensemble team as well, making sure to attend weekly practices in addition to her commitments outside of school. Since this is her first year as a Heritage student, Ragin often turns to the dance ensemble when she needs a way to decompress.

“When I’m stressed, dance helps me release those emotions,” Ragin said.

In preparation before their first big performance, Ragin, on the far left, and the Dancetown Divas had photo shoots in full costume. (Photo submitted by Kelsey Ragin)

As for her “World of Dance,” the Dancetown Divas had to submit a multitude of audition videos to make it onto the show. With each submission, they would receive critiques back, make corrections and send back another video. The troupe eventually made it past every audition round and earned their spot on the show.

“It’s really surreal,” Ragin said. “It’s hard to believe that we made it that far. [The show] was amazing to be a part of.”

Throughout the process of filming the show, Ragin and the Dancetown Divas participated in multiple interviews. Ragin, sitting third from the left in the first row, paid homage to Heritage in one of them. (Photo submitted by Kelsey Ragin)

Unable to disclose much about the future of the show, Ragin revealed that filming took place in early August, and she would travel back and forth in order to keep up with her schoolwork while recording the show, a process that went on for about a month.

“It was really exciting, because, being that the judges were Ne-Yo, Derek and J-Lo, I was really surprised to be with them. They’re really nice,” Ragin said. “Performing on the stage and being a part of the show was my favorite part.”

The first round of “World of Dance” premiered this past Sunday, but in case you missed that episode, NBC airs new ones every Sunday at 8 P.M., and you can keep up with Ragin and the Dancetown Divas as they take the stage each week.

Joanne is a senior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. As a third-year staffer and second-year editor-in-chief, she loves immersing herself in the journalistic field and writing for her publications. Outside of newspaper, Joanne is also co-president of the English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta math honor society, where she also serves as the student delegate state secretary. Among the other clubs she is a part of, Joanne is also secretary of the linguistics team and Chinese Honor Society, as well as treasurer for Quill and Scroll. In her free time, Joanne loves practicing her photography and going to concerts.

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