Five colorful and courageous people sacrifice everything to be able to share their love of dance with the world. In Oxygen’s newest docuseries, The Prancing Elites Project, five gay, black, men try to compete in the competitive world of Southern Drill Teams.
Majorette-style dancing isn’t the bobby socks and pom poms you may imagine; this is highly athletic dance popular at many Historically Black Colleges and Universities — especially in the American South. This dance style combines elements of jazz, contemporary, crunking, and African tribal dance in high voltage performances and competitions.
The specialized style of dance that the Prancing Elites practice is called “J-Setting,” a style introduced by the Jackson State University dance team, the Prancing J-Settes. One of the team members calls the dance style “Cheerleading and Voguing combined in one … with a lot of hip-thrusting.” Until now, majorette and J-Setting dance has been a female-dominated sport, but now the Prancing Elite want to join and compete propose a major twist, an all-male dance team.
The five male dancers were happily dancing around their hometown of Mobile, Alabama until a single tweet from Shaquille O’Neal saying “These Dudes B Jammin” blew up their YouTube videos and brought them instant Internet fame. They’ve been able to use their fame to springboard their careers to appearances on talk shows and performances around the country. Unfortunately, they still face ignorance and homophobia and a lack of acceptance in their hometown. In the show’s trailer, one of the dancers shares, “We have three strikes against us: We’re black, we’re gay and we’re in Mobile, Alabama.”
Meet the Dancers
Kentrell is the leader of the Prancing Elites. He formed the team because he and his friends weren’t allowed to join a dance team in high school. He’s tough, loud, opinionated and of the mindset, if they won’t let you play, make up your own game.
Kentrel realises that with the exposure that the Prancing Eites have earned, they’re not only presenting themselves as dancers, they’re serving as ambassadors of the black and gay communities and role models for young gay and transgender people.
Adrian is the “Blonde of the group” he’s beautiful and boyish and says that, “Dancing is my oxygen.” He is a mesmerizing dancer to watch and no matter the dance, I had a hard time keeping my eyes off of him.
Adrian is comically confused at all times and in pretty much every situation. The only time he’s not asking, “Wait, What????” is when he’s dancing and then you see what this man was born to do.
Tim is the group’s longhaired member. Tim identifies as female and dresses and acts accordingly. Adrian describes her as “Marshmallows and rainbows and horses and stuff,” and she’s the group’s sweetheart.
Tim jokes that his name is short for “Timberly” and he gives the group a softer, more subjective view of the world.
Kareem is the group’s jock. He’s a natural athlete who excels at any physical endeavor. He’s also the least comfortable member of the team when wearing The Prancing Elite’s leotards and sequins. He adds a young sext vibe that is overtly masculine.
Of the group, he found his love of dance later in life; but man, does this boy love to twerk!
Jerel may be described by some of the group as the team “Bitch,” but I think he’d prefer to be known as the team’s “Diva.” He knows what he wants, and he’ll gladly tell you what it is.
Jerel is another team member who is young and fresh and has the fire and feist to fight against the team’s detractors.
Suzanne is the team’s agent and she puts up with the team’s antics with a mother’s disapproving look and a roll of her eyes. She’s a rule-follower and tries to tame the wildness of the Elites.
This season promises to be filled with triumph and years as the group gets opportunities to perform, but still face homophobia at every turn — they even face ostracism from their own families. But even in their darkest moments, the group finds hope and joy. They see it in the face of a young child who weeps at the inequality the men face, they find it in the arms of someone who gives them a hug of support, and they find it in the love and acceptance they show each other. Because the only place these unique people may fit in is with each other, but together they stand out.
The Prancing Elites Project > Oxygen > Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning April 22