Black Excellence: Rising through Dance

I am not sure what it is but I have a deep appreciation for black men who rise. Meaning, they understand what Dr. Angelou meant when she wrote, “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise.” Maybe it is in our genes or it becomes an awareness we have because we live in America. Whichever the reason, Rising is not something new to us, but every time I see it, it brings a tear to my eye.

Cyrus Spencer, better known as Glitch, is the latest sensation on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance? SYTYCD is a brilliant show that tests a dancer’s ability to step outside of their expertise and forces these little bodies to conquer all forms of dance. By doing this, everyone competes on an even playing field. Ballerinas may fail at Hip Hop and Hip Hoppers may fail at Ballroom.

America was introduced to Cyrus and members of his crew, Dragon House, at the Atlanta auditions. All three got a ticket to Vegas, where their ability to adapt was tested.  Unfortunately, his teammates crumpled in the first round. Cyrus survived Hip Hop, Contemporary, Ballroom and whatever else they threw at him.  Mind you, he did this as a dancer who has never been choreographed or trained in any true fashion… He succeeded not because he was the best technical dancer but because dancing is who he is. He is able to convey an emotion and a feeling to the audience better than the best. And, most importantly, he proved himself to be coachable, a priceless quality to any amateur.

Cyrus went from being 1 of tens of thousands, to 1 of about 200, to 1 of 35, to being in the top 20. With a humble heart and a clear understanding of the challenge before him, he took America by storm. Luckily, he was partnered with the best female dancer, Eliana Girard, for the first portion of the season (note: I am saying this before the final results are in). His diligence and her grace resulted in Cyrus never being voted into the bottom 3, preventing any opportunity for the judges to eliminate him.  That means that every week, people picked up their phones, texted or went online to vote for Cyrus Spencer – further proof of his likability and talent.

Last week Cyrus was perfectly partnered with Comfort, a past contestant.  The duo performed a Dub Step piece by Chris Scott. In all seriousness my brain exploded all over my TV before it even ended. Thoughtful + Technical + INSANE + Blazin’ Greatness = The force needed to move Cyrus into the finals.

The final performances were aired last night (September 11th) with each contestant doing an outstanding 5 performances. Cyrus separated himself from the pack with his solo performance and a mind-blowing, all-black-everything, words-can-not-describe, outstanding, HAM, GOAT and some cheese  performance with All Star Twitch– a display of robotics and animation, a skill he has not only mastered but also a trick that no one else on the show can match. The final decision will be announced next Tuesday, September 18th. The anticipation is making my bowels act up.

It is such a blessing to see someone living their dreams. Not only is Cyrus a motivation for hip hop dancers across the nation, but he is also evidence of what can happen when you do what you love and love what you do. His dedication and willingness to excel are qualities of a true role model.  Cyrus Spencer is an example of Why I Love Black Men. Imagine if more television shows portrayed black men like him. Imagine our community celebrating his success.  Imagine what one man can do with one talent. Just, Imagine.

Cyrus is a light, an inspiration, a refreshing reminder of what black men are capable of and a treat for these eyes. He is an ideal example of Black Excellence. Truly, I am excited to see what he does next.

Dear Cyrus,

I love what you are doing and how you have represented yourself while doing it. I wish you all the best and send you my love.


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