Good news for 2 Frazee dancers
Just a few weeks ago, Miss Frazee was waving to her hometown crowd as a proud pageant queen.
By this fall, Emily Kallis will be cheering for Minnesota Timberwolves players and dancing for the NBA team in front of thousands of fans.
Kallis has always participated in regional dance competitions, but auditioning for the Timberwolves dance team was something else.
She danced alongside professional dancers who've been part of popular sports teams before, and at 18, she was also the youngest.
"It's a little bit intimidating," Kallis said. "But pressure is good for me. It makes me work harder and want it that much more."
Kallis has been a student of Center Stage Dance Academy in Detroit Lakes since the age of 9, learning various dance styles from ballet and contemporary to hip hop and jazz.
Last month, she went to Minneapolis to audition for the Timberwolves team with about 170 other young women. Then the field was narrowed down to 45 dancers who got to attend a dance camp in the Twin Cities.
After a couple of days, judges cut 12 more dancers, which made the competition even fiercer.
The 33 dancers then performed two street jazz routines that they learned at the camp before the finalists could be announced.
"I was in shock," Kallis said.
But now the small town beauty queen is one of 17 dancers who've been busy modeling in photo shoots for posters, dancing constantly, and leading a celebrity-like lifestyle.
"There is a possibility that I could be going to Paris in September," she said.
Kallis, a basketball fan, plans to audition again for the team next year and every year as many times as she can.
"I know I'm not the best dancer in the world but I have lots of passion for it," she said.
Years of hard work and dedication have paid off for her and her fellow Center Stage Dance Academy dancer Alyssa Mayfield.
A regional competition in Fargo that they both participated in this summer opened up many doors for 18-year-old Mayfield, also from Frazee.
Judges at the "Triple S" regional competition chose her amongst the "Chance to Dance" award winners.
With the award, she was able to compete at nationals held in Wisconsin earlier this summer and from there she continued her adventure with another opportunity.
Mayfield was one of the few chosen to receive scholarships to attend dance camps and workshops. She then went to Chicago for a week-long intensive camp, that focused on ballet, lyrical, contemporary and modern dance.
Although she was only able to attend for three days, she said the amount of training she received at the Midwest Dance Collective camp was invaluable.
"We danced from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. with a 20-minute lunch break," Mayfield said. "It was a lot of dancing."
It was also a challenge because contemporary dance styles are not her strongest area, she said, her training has been focused on mixing hip hop with jazz.
"I'm just hoping that it was because the judges could tell that I absolutely love to dance and want to continue with it," Mayfield said.
The teen will be moving to Chicago this fall to attend Concordia University. By living in one of the largest performing arts cities, she plans to seek dance opportunities and audition for musicals and dance companies as much as possible.
You can also look for her on an upcoming episode of So You Think You Can Dance, as she plans to audition for it as well.
"I plan to dance or use dance in my life in some way, shape or form for the rest of my life," Mayfield said.