Decatur step dancers featured on May 7’s ‘Little Big Shots’

LITTLE BIG SHOTS — “Little Big Steppers” Episode 209 — Pictured: (l-r) Boyz II Bowties, Steve Harvey (center) — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

This was originally filed Friday, May 5, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

I’m on vacation until May 17. So if you see anything newsworthy, pass it on to my colleagues Jennifer Brett (jennifer.brett@ajc.com) or music writer Melissa Ruggieri (mruggieri@ajc.com). In the meantime, I wrote a few pieces to keep this blog semi-occupied while I’m not here.

NBC’s hit show “Little Big Shots” is combination little kid talent show and Steve Harvey comedy show. Decatur’s step-dancing group Boys II Bow Ties will get their moment in the spotlight and time on the couch with the legendary comic this Sunday at 8 p.m.

Daryll Blakely, a fourth-grade science teacher who is a step-dancing expert, created the group two years ago after his assistant principal asked him to provide creative opportunities for the boys. “There were a lot of groups for girls, nothing for boys,” at Columbia Elementary School, Blakely said. So using his background in his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, Blakely created the step-dance troupe and for visual continuity had them wear bow ties.

The boys, ages 8 to 10, picked up skills quickly, he said. “They were so willing,” he said, “and they would not let it go.” He said he was tough on them, demanding 100% all the time. They rehearsed three hours a day, three days a week.

Soon, they  began doing performances around town, winning talent competitions and traveling to South Carolina and Alabama. When he heard about “Little Big Shots,” he jumped at the chance to sign his boys up. And NBC liked them.

His top 7 boys flew out to Los Angeles last July for the taping.

We don’t have video yet of their appearance but here’s a sampling on YouTube:

Harvey was inspiring, he said. “He made me want to do more,” Blakely said. “He talked about dreams. He told me to jump, take a leap of faith.” So he is leaving teaching at the end of the school year to focus on entertainment and building the step group.

Dan Lamar, 11, said he loves doing back flips and front flips on top of the stepping.

Michael Wilson, 11, said he enjoyed the trip to Los Angeles and even met some “Hollywood actress.” Blakely had to remind him who it was: “Apprentice” vet who is now at the White House Omarosa.

Michael thought the group did a good job in their TV performance. Sure they made a few mistakes, but nothing major. The audience, he said, “was clapping so happy. I know I was just happy to be on the show.”

TV PREVIEW

“Little Big Shots,” 8 p.m. Sundays, NBC


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