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Clayton students star in BET dance contest

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

One member of Zodiax, a dance group of seven Clayton County students, has never left Georgia.

Three members have never been on a plane. Four of them say they have never been to New York City.

"Actually, my parents claim they took me to New York City once, but I must have been really young at the time, because I don't remember going there," says Montavious Harris, 16, a sophomore at Mundy's Mill High School, and one of the four Zodiax members.

However, none of the seven members of the dance group will remain in any of those categories after this week.

Zodiax, which is composed of sophomores and juniors from Mundy's Mill, Forest Park and Morrow high schools, will be one of three dance teams competing in "Wild-Out Wednesdays" (W.O.W.) this week on Black Entertainment Television's (BET) music countdown program "106 + Park."

The show will air locally on Wednesday, at 6 p.m., on Comcast Cable channel 72.

"I'm excited, but nervous at the same time," said Nikia Willis, 16, a junior at Forest Park High School. "I don't think any of us have ever been on TV before."

The winner of the dance competition is decided by who gets the most online votes during the show. After the first round, viewers have to vote on www.bet.com for the best dance team. The team with the least amount of votes is eliminated and the two remaining teams engage in a face-to-face dance off, followed by more online voting.

Winners gain national fame and go on to compete for the W.O.W. All-Star Dance Team title at a later date.

The group's members are currently asking people to watch the program and vote for them throughout the competition. The students said their campaign to get local votes has been through word of mouth.

"We have this one big-mouthed girl, who shouted out at school the other day that we were going to be on BET and needed everyone's votes," said Cambrea Norris, 16, a sophomore at Forest Park High School.

Zodiax was formed a year ago to give the students a way to be on a dance team while they are in high school. It is made up of Harris, Willis, Norris, Forest Park High School students Geneley Childress (17, junior), Miquavius "Qua" Dominick (16, junior), Shimallory Grooms (16, sophomore), and Morrow High School sophomore Henry Tran, 16.

The group is coached by Babb Middle School Dance and Health Teacher Melissa Colon -- Clayton County's Teacher of the Year. All of the students, except Dominick, attended Babb and were students of Colon.

"So often, Clayton County's kids get portrayed in a negative light, but, you know, I've got a really good group of kids here," said Colon.

Dominick said he was recruited by his classmates because they felt he was a good dancer. Outside of the group, Zodiax's members are athletes, musicians, artists and student leaders at their respective schools.

"Without dance, I think we'd all be messed up," said Dominick. "Dancing helps us, because it keeps us out of trouble."

The team will depart from Babb Middle School at 6:30 a.m., Tuesday, to head to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From there, they will catch a flight to New York City.