Owings Mills dancer Jamile McGee will have a chance to dip, shimmy and twist toward his dreams. The 20- year-old dancer became one of 16 finalists Wednesday night on Fox's latest reality show, So You Think You Can Dance?.
"I know he's gonna funk it up," said Jamie McGee, his mother who lives in Arlington, Va.
Now in its fifth week, the show features dancers competing against each other for $100,000 and a chance to live in a New York City apartment for a year. Sixteen finalists - out of a field of 50 contestants - were selected Wednesday night by a team of five choreographers. McGee was the third dancer to find out he had made the latest cut.
Dancing hasn't always been easy for McGee. His juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed at age 9. "They never anticipated him walking normally," his mother says. "It was a major miracle."
For the past year, McGee has been working at the Savage Dance Company in Sykesville. "He is so charismatic, down-to-earth and wonderful, I knew I had to work with him," says Nichole Savage, owner of the studio.
McGee, who began dancing as a kid and performing as a teenager, moved to Baltimore to study dance in 2004. Since joining the Savage Dance Company, McGee has competed with its performance team. "He is a great role model for the boys in his class," Savage says.
The dancer has succeeded in several rounds of auditions - held in Silver Spring and New York City. In New York, he was one of 50 contestants chosen to move to Hollywood. There, the dancers underwent intensive training with the choreographers, honing styles ranging from ballroom to popping and locking.
"It's been amazing to see him perform," Jamie McGee said. "He lives dance, he loves dance."
Whether McGee ultimately will win is anybody's guess, but Savage is hoping this will be his big break. "I'm so proud of him," she says. "I'm smiling from ear to ear."
What: So You Think You Can Dance?
When: Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
Where: Fox (Channel 45)