Jerel Of “The Prancing Elites” Interview
The world will be introduced to a new show tonight focused on five talented dancers who choose to live boldly in the Bible Belt of the south.
Oxygen’s “The Prancing Elites Project” is showcasing an Alabama LGBT dance troupe whose style of dance includes high kicks, leotards, nude tights, and a healthy helping of confidence.
The Elites composed of Kareem, Jerel, Timothy, Kentrell and Adrian, sashay in parades without shame and shake off shouts from bystanders dubbing them “abominations” and gay slurs.
With hopes to one day dance alongside Beyonce, videos of them proudly shaking it in stands have gone viral and caught the attention of Shaq and NeNe Leakes whose supported them in the past.
Jerel, a drum major turned Prancing Elite, recently chatted with BOSSIP to talk his background and to emphasize the show’s “be who you are” message of acceptance.
How did you get started doing majorette style dancing?
I started when I was 18 almost 19. I was a drum major in my high school [and] they’re known for dancing and doing splits, so that was the closest thing I could get to being a dance girl without actually being one. I had my own team before joining the Prancing Elites in 2012 and I’m still here.
How did the Prancing Elites come together?
We came from different dance groups. The team started in 2004, Adrian’s been on the team since 2006 but he was dancing with a team prior. Me and Kareem were on a team together and we joined alongside Adrian, Ketrell and Tim.
What drew you to majorette style dancing? Was it the music, flashy costumes…
We’re pretty much band heads so we love, love, dance music and love to dance. If you combine dance music with dancing and HBCUs, the only type of dance you see while th eband is dancing is majorette style dancing. It’s very intriguing to the eye, it’s fun, it’s everything!
What was it like the first time the Prancing Elites danced in front of an audience? Were you worried about homophobic backlash?
It’s not just the first time, it’s every time. Every time we step out we’re always nervous because you never know what could happen and that’s why we pray a lot. There’s ignorant people out here and there’s no telling what they could do to us. We get nervous and we get scared but we motivate each other.
Do you have a lot of support?
It’s 50/50. We have supporters but then we hear a lot of sissy and f****t.
What do you want people to get from the show?
We just want people to understand that we are humans too. Just because the style of dance we do has never been seen on TV doesn’t make it any less real. We just want people to know that this is our real life, we do this everyday. We just want people to be themselves. You should never be afraid to be yourself, despite what society thinks of you. Despite if what they think what you’re doing is an “abomination”like they tell us all the time, you only have one life to live.
The Prancing Elites Project airs tonight at 10/9c on Oxygen.
Will you be watching????