Team lands in MTV spotlight

Florida A&M University Strikers appeared in their first audition episode of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Thursday night.

The Strikers, known on the show as the Striker All Stars, auditioned last October in Atlanta. Strikers’ founder and director, Shepiro Hardemon, described the audition process as the “most exciting” part.

“The audition separated us from thousands of other dance crews as a part of the elite,” Hardemon said.

The participants were chosen based on their overall performance, availability and camaraderie, Hardemon said.

He also said once they landed a spot on the show, they began a rigorous rehearsal schedule to make sure they were well prepared.

Hardemon added that the Strikers rehearsed during winter break and began endurance training, which included lessons in hip-hop, break dancing and ballet. 

The group’s president Brandon Mitchell said they have been preparing for this opportunity since the dance team was founded 20 years ago.

“We deserve this,” said Mitchell, 23, a graduating senior computer information systems student from Kansas City, Kan. “It just goes to show that with hard work and dedication you can pursue all your dreams.”

The group’s spokesperson Tallie Brinson III agrees.

“It’s amazing knowing our family and peers are watching and supporting us,” said Brinson, 24, a senior music education student from Atlanta. “We were just watching the show and now we’re on it.”

Brinson along with the six other Strikers have taken time off from school for filming.

“We are proud to represent FAMU, and we want to continue to add to the great reputation we have here,” Brinson said.

Hardemon said viewers could anticipate an elevated performance from the Striker All Stars, as they promise to step it up every week.

“It is like the Marching 100,” he said. “When you get The Strikers, you get excellence at its best. They promise their performances will have dynamic choreography, high energy and [that they will] be well executed.”

Mitchell said the Strikers have incorporated steps into their production to add their own flavor to ABDC, which can lead to more opportunities.

“We will be showing off our own style, while still bringing something different, versatile and exciting,” he said.

The Strikers said the run on ABDC gives the world the opportunity to see FAMU positively, and help students appreciate the team.

Brinson explained they are still going to be all about entertainment and leaving the audience wanting more.

He said that the Strikers are only asking the school and the community to rally around them with their support.

“The students have always been our number one fans, and we need their support now more than ever,” Hardemon said.

The Strikers encourage everyone to watch the show and vote for them every week.

The Striker All Stars includes Tallie Brinson III, Peterson Thelisma, Otheus Manuel, Edwin Bennett, Joel Daley, Michael Washington and Maurice Nance.

Episodes of America’s Best Dance Crew air Thursdays on MTV at 10 p.m., and voting begins immediately following each episode.