Digital First: International dancer talks touring, HBCUs, visuals, dance camp and more

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Alcorn and Jackson State alum Shantoni Xavier talks life as a dancer

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – An international dancer will host a dance workshop in McComb in February.

In a Digital First exclusive interview, 12’s DeAngelo Marquise sits down with international dancer Shantoni Xavier to talk about an upcoming dance camp, tour life with Big Freedia, and more. 

The Alcorn and Jackson State alum said landing a spot on Big Freedia’s tour was not an easy task. He said the international star put all the dancers to a test to see who had what it takes to entertain a crowd and who had stamina.

The dancers who were vying for a spot on tour had to dance for an hour nonstop in New Orleans’ French Quarter, entertaining locals and travelers. Once it was all said and done, Shantoni made the cut, becoming one Big Freedia’s main dancers.

Admiration for J-Settes and Golden Girls

Shantoni said he admires majorettes, and he never thought the dancers would have become so mainstream.

“I think it’s dope because of it’s part of the southern culture, especially with African Americans. We have that tradition with the bands and dance lines. So, I think its dope that the world has been exposed to it, and they can appreciate it.”

When it comes to majorettes, Xavier said says his top two dance squads are the J-Settes and the Golden Girls.

“I think they both are so amazing. I am so grateful to have attended both universities. What I take from the Golden Girls is entertainment and rawness in your face. They are going to give a show and performance every single time. What I take from the J-Settes is form and technique and fluidity and making sure that I am very clean. When you harness both of the squads together, I think you kind of have this recipe that is undeniable.”

Dance Films

Away from tour life, Shantoni has been in two dance films called “Loud” and “Out.”

“I woke up one day and was like I want to put out a dance film. I want to say something but I don’t actually want to say it. I wanted to show it in my craft.”

In the dance films, he touched on different topics people deal with in the LGBT community.

“Social injustice to the light talking about mental health. I touch on a lot of sensitive topics because I think it is a different approach when you have entertainment and then you can flip it and talk about something that is going on in the world that is an issue or a disparity to our community.”

Workshop in McComb

Shantoni will soon host a dance camp in McComb. It will be on Saturday, February 8.

The dance camp will be done in three parts: Stands, Field Routine and Slow and Sexy, which is for individuals 18 and older.

Anyone interested in going to the dance camp can purchase a ticket online or pay the day of the camp.

Watch the full interview above.

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