Sep 30, 2014
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The incredible dancer who took center stage with Usher at the Sept. 5 airing of NBC’s TODAY show is none other than Richmond-born Ladia Yates.

Yates, 23, is exploding as a professional dancer, having also recently worked with Janelle Monae, “Tye” Tribbett, and Missy Elliott.

Her brief battle with Usher on national television is only helping to spread her name as one of the nation’s hottest dancers.

Yates, who attended Kennedy High, has come a long way since she began dancing. She laughs when revealing she was inspired to dance while performing as mascot for the West County Spartans Youth Football and Cheer program. At age 16, her mother moved her to Memphis, where her dancing continued to flourish and where she earned the title, “Queen of Memphis.”

But her dance skills have recently escalated to an international stage. Watch Yates battle and defeat seven consecutive dancers at a recent competition in Paris.

Despite moving to Memphis, where she started and runs the dance program Lye Academy, Yates continues to give props to her West County roots during media interviews. In one recent interview, Yates said the Bay Area influenced her dance style’s swagg, delivery and finesse.

“I want to show people that no matter where you are from you can be great,” Yates told the Richmond Standard, adding, “Not everyone and everything out of Richmond is bad, lol.”

We wholeheartedly agree.

For a summary of Yates’ work, check out this “best of” video:


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.