Richmond native Ladia Yates has again taken her dancing to the national stage, this time wowing the celebrity judges on So You Think You Can Dance.
Yates, who attended Kennedy High, recently appeared in the premier of Season 12 with an audition in Memphis, where she moved with her family at age 16 and later started the dance program Lye Academy. Despite her Memphis presence, in the show she is identified as being from Richmond.
In the audition, Yates put on an incredible rendering of Memphis Jookin’. Judge Nigel Lythgoe said he has seen a lot of jookin’ but has never seen the roll of the ankles that Yates has incorporated in the dance.
“You pay attention, don’t you?,” Yates responded.
Paula Abdul called Yates special and unique and her showmanship “awesome.” And R&B Star Jason Derulo may have showered her with the most praise, saying her performance was like watching a movie. Yates responded by asking Derulo out to the movies, making the the singer blush. Yates was then “floored” when Derulo told her she should teach him and his dancers, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Yates brought her dance team to her performance. At one point the team ended up on stage with Derulo for a sing along to one of this popular songs, “Talk Dirty to Me.”
This is hardly a first in terms of national exposure for Yates. On Sept. 5, she took center stage with Usher on NBC’s TODAY show. She has also worked with such stars as Janelle Monae, “Tye” Tribbett, and Missy Elliott. We also told you how Yates defeated seven girls in a row in a dance competition in Paris.