ELIZABETHTOWN — Some young ladies in Bladen County had a unique opportunity to attend the Dancing Dolls for Life Buck or Die Summer Camp in Atlanta, Ga.
Bladen County’s own Diamond Divas Dance Team had four members who attended the camp. They are Zaria McKoy, Sidiamond Atkinson, Aali Gregg, and veteran camper Tatiana McElveen. They are coached by Ilka McElveen.
Hosted by Dianna “Miss D” Williams and her Dancing Dolls dance team members from the Dancing Dolls for Life television show. The young campers spent a recent weekend this summer learning various dance moves including hip-hop, splits, toe touches and various dance routines.
Aali Gregg said the experience was “amazing” and noted that Williams is very different in person than she is on her television show.
“I thought she was going to be mean,” said Gregg. She added that, as it turned out, Williams was very helpful and patient with her young dancers.
Gregg said she learned dance routines known as Stand Battle routines, she also such dance moves as death drops, cut jumps and splits. She said learning the moves and remembering the order of the moves in the routines was easy because the coaches gave the dancers words to associate with the dance moves.
Fellow dancers Zaria McKoy and Sidiamond Atkinson also were attending the camp for the first time and both agreed that before arriving at camp they were nervous and unsure what to expect.
“It was great. It was fun and I enjoyed it,” said McKoy.
“I thought she was going to be mean, but she made the camp fun,” said Atkinson.
McElveen said one of the aspects of the camp was what is called “cuts” where the girls are divided into lines and then assigned to a team where they are eventually cut to create a final team. Gregg was the only member of the Diamond Divas who survived the cuts.
“After the cuts, you had to work hard,” said Gregg.
McKoy said that while learning the moves was hard the coaches let you practice each new move a few times before adding it to a routine.
Tatiana McElveen who attended the camp last year, said she was not as nervous about attending this year’s camp. She said the camp was very organized this year.
“It was easier this year,” said Tatiana McElveen.
Ilka McElveen said that the dancers who attended the camp are busy teaching the other members of Diamond Divas the new moves and dance routines thy have learned at camp.
“They will add it on to what they have already learned,” said Ilka McElveen. She said hopefully, the dancers who are able to attend the camp next year, will also learn new dance moves and routines to add to skills the team already knows.
McElveen said this year’s camp did not have a class for coaches. Last year’s Dancing Dolls camp had classes for coaches on such things as nutrition and health.
The ladies say they are ready and looking forward to next year’s Dancing Dolls Buck or Die Summer Camp.
—Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.