Jan. 19 is an important date for DeCovyn Gaines, a young Easton resident and aspiring professional dancer.
Jan. 19 is an important date for DeCovyn Gaines, a young Easton resident and aspiring professional dancer. That's when he'll audition live in front of talent scouts from the television show, America's Got Talent.
Here, Gaines discusses performing, his dreams for the future, and the performers who continue to inspire him.
1. How did you become interested in dance, and where did you learn?
"I became interested in dance when I was about 6 or 7 years old. One day, I was watching Michael Jackson's 'You Rock My World' video, and from that point on, all I wanted to do was dance and try to sing like MJ.
"As years went on, I learned I couldn't sing, but I could dance. I constantly watched YouTube and Chris Brown. Along with Michael, Chris Brown is one of my inspirations as a dancer."
2. What was the process like in your quest for competing in the national TV show, America's Got Talent? When and where do you go for the competition?
"I had to make sure I was mentally ready to try out and had a perfect video that would help my chances.
"It was actually a very quick but difficult process.
"I couldn't go to an in-person audition, so I decided to audition online and from online auditions only those who are chosen get contacted back.
"They emailed me and let me know to come down to Houston, Texas, for a live audition on Jan. 19 at 11 a.m."
3. What other competitions have you competed in and what is the secret to staying calm and focused while dancing under pressure?
"At my high school, I competed in a competition called Mr.Pioneer two years in a row and it wasn't really a big crowd, but it helped me start dancing in front of people.
"I also danced in our school homecoming assembly's two years in a row in front of the whole school, which really helped me as far as pressure goes and getting out in front of people.
"My secret is just to close my eyes and not really look anyone in their eye as I dance, just to imagine, and let my dancing take me away, and just zone everything out but the music."
4. As a recent high school graduate and new assistant teacher, how do you find time to practice your dance routines? Can you tell us about the routine you will perform for America's Got Talent?
"When I started working as an assistant teacher I was also still in football season, so it was very hard to go straight from football practice to work, but dancing is my passion so I couldn't let anything get in the way of that.
"At night time, I always practice in my living room and just put my headphones on and zone out and just dance for an hour or two straight.
"Just practicing my fundamentals.
"My routine for AGT will consist of a bit of choreography, not really a freestyle, but a lot of waving, isolations, popping and floor work. Hopefully I can bring out something people have never really seen before, or if they have, at least the best they have ever seen it performed."
5. What are your long-term goals in dance and what are the most enjoyable and satisfying parts of being on a dance floor?
"I would love to dance and choreograph in college, and someday work with my favorite choreographers around the world, and go on tour with artists such as Chris Brown or Beyoncé.
"The most enjoyable and satisfying moments are when you hear people applaud or get in that 'aw' jaw dropping mode after a certain move you have just done, or when you don't know if this certain move will be good, but testing it out in front of people will let you know how they take it.
"Usually they're impressed and it's always a good feeling to know after your dance.
"Someone comes up to you and tells you how much potential and talent you have.
"It just inspires me to keep pushing myself."
— Rimsie McConiga