LaChanee’ Davis, a Cleveland native and former Stingette of Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets Band, is a busy woman. Earlier this month, Davis and her dance organization Buck Out Cleveland, which is dedicated to preparing students for the opportunity to successfully audition and become collegiate dancers at a historically black college or university (HBCU), had a successful workshop partnering with two-year captain of North Carolina A&T’s Golden Delight Auxiliary, Desiree’ Hunter in Cleveland, Ohio. The event promised to provide participants with the chance to expand in areas of field, stand routines and parades, and it certainly did not fail to meet high demand. Still hungry for success, Davis is raising the bar.
Check out our full interview with LaChanee’ Davis as we talk on her new dance organization, lessons learned from the black college experience and much more below.
How was Buck Out Cleveland started? I realized that a lot of dancers and dance teams in Cleveland loved the “majorette” dance style, but were not given the opportunity to learn directly from experienced HBCU dancers. Then I recalled my experiences; I ventured to Alabama State with the dream of becoming a Stingette and I was rejected in 2011. As I realized that maybe that season just was not my season, I became close to former Stingettes on campus that motivated me and steered me in the right direction and really helped me to successfully audition for the 2012 season. I believe that if I would have had the dance experience that I gained from those former Stingettes prior to auditioning for the team, my outcome probably would have been different. The feeling of rejection is something I would not wish on anyone. In Ohio, dancers know about HBCUs but are not able to actually get to the schools to attend the different workshops that they offer simply because of distance, time and money. Buck Out Cleveland allows for different workshops to come here, teach their various dance styles and leave a lasting impression on the students. We are not promising any student who participates with us that they will make the team of their dreams, but we do promise that the experiences that they gain from us will allow them to be competitive contenders at any audition process that they wish to partake in.
What are some lessons learned from your black college experience? Alabama State taught me some of the most important life lessons that have allowed me to flourish as the woman I am today: discipline, time management and general organizational skills. Being a Mighty Marching Hornet allowed me to learn the value of those three things. Through Tau Beta Sigma (Delta Theta Chapter), I earned the name “Organized Khaos.” When things are chaotic, I have always felt the need to organize them. But when I am placed in the middle of an unorganized situation, it makes me feel chaotic. My HBCU really made sure that before I walked across the stage that I was prepared for life after, including organization and professionalism in every aspect of my life and my career.
What motivates you to dance? Seeing others shine is what really keeps me motivated. I daydream sometimes of seeing some of the high school students I work with now become collegiate dancers and one day come back to Cleveland and motivate others to do the same thing I did. Although I have grown to be comfortable in the background while encouraging those that are passionate about dancing, I am aware that I sometimes have to step up to the front in order to guide and cultivate the talents of the students. That alone keeps me dancing, constantly trying to make sure that I am at my best to teach them to be better than the best.
How has social media and technology played a role in branding yourself? Social media has helped me brand myself starting from my first season as a Stingette. YouTube introduced me to the audience that I target today. I went from being addressed in the comments as some no name, dark-skinned girl who can “really dance in the first row” to people actually knowing my name and acknowledging my talent. I believe that more than anything people fell in love with the passion that radiated from me as I danced. I envisioned every game being my last, because I never took my gift for granted. That same following pored over into Instagram and Facebook. Although I am no longer a performing Stingette, some of those same followers still support my dream and vision today and know that working with me is worth their time and energy, based off of what they already know I am capable of from when they used to watch me on the first row on YouTube videos. We live in an era where people are forming careers from YouTube videos, Instagram posts, vines, and many more forms of social media. I never thought that I would be included in that form of entrepreneurship, but I am thankful for every post and repost that got me to this point and will take me further.
What advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps? There has been so many times where I wanted to quit. Mainly, I wanted to give up simply because I felt as if I was not accepted, or I just was not good enough. Then I had to realize that I had a purpose before anyone else had an opinion. I put on my blinders and I continued to take consistent steps towards what I wanted. If anything else came along that distracted me from what was important, I cut it loose and told myself to focus. I am not exactly where I want to be but I am close simply because I mapped out what needs to be done and eliminated what did not fit in that equation. My advice for others would be to set a goal, research and take the necessary steps towards that goal, conquer that goal and inspire someone else. It is a never ending cycle.
Buck Out Cleveland is also currently looking for different workshop instructors from various schools to host classes like Simone Hurd (Central State University), Desiree’ Hunter (NCAT) and Asia Martin (ASU) did as well as future sponsors to partner with. If you think you are interested, and want stay connected for more information about events and workshops contact LaChanee’ Davis at 216-714-BUCK (2825).
Check out upcoming dates and events for Buck Out Cleveland:
Buck Out Cleveland Partners with Asia Martin
Legendary? Indeed! It has been confirmed that Buck Out Cleveland will be hosting an unforgettable workshop with Alabama State University’s two year captain and 2016 choreographer, Asia “Slaysia” Martin.
Mark your calendars for July 29, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio! Surrounding teams are advised to pre-register now, as the event will not be open to the public until community and high school teams are given the chance to pre-register first.
216 Buck-Off: Dance Competition
We are currently preparing for our biggest event yet: The 216 Buck Off. This event is a dance competition scheduled to take place Saturday, September 3, 2016. It is our goal that every year, starting this year, we host this competition with a different dance line, around the Cleveland area, to bring in more funds to each team and promote them all individually. We also will believe that the funds we raise from this year’s event will help Buck Out Cleveland help dancers from Cleveland and surrounding areas venture off to college with scholarship opportunities offered by our organization. We invite you and your team to submit a participation request below to compete in this year’s first annual competition (majorette dance style only). Click the link below to complete the necessary to confirm your team’s reservation in the competition.