A Star is Born

Dance-off at The Palace puts C-A student in the spotlight



Antwain Alexander holds the light-up crystal Today Show Orange Award trophy he won for a dance-off video with Detroit Piston’s usher Shannon Sailes.

Antwain Alexander holds the light-up crystal Today Show Orange Award trophy he won for a dance-off video with Detroit Piston’s usher Shannon Sailes.

FLINT TWP. — Many talented people dream of the show biz success that 11-year-old Antwain Alexander is already having.

The agile Flint Township youngster has been making the talk-show rounds since sudden fame found him via the Dance- cam at a Pistons home game against the New York Knicks on Nov. 19.

Antwain got into an impromptu dance battle with popular Pistons usher, Shannon Sailes, 46, and soon after the video of the two went viral on the Internet.

The YouTube version so far has about 8.2 million hits. Antwain has since made appearances on Good Morning America, CNN, Jimmy Kimmel, the Today show and was scheduled to tape the Steve Harvey show on Dec. 17.

Antwain and Sailes appeared on the Today Show’s on Dec. 11 to claim the annual Orange Room Digital Award in the dance-off category. With 60 percent of the viewers vote, the dancing duo beat out stiff competition including the popular Ylvis What Does the Fox Say singers.

Sailes let Antwain keep the hefty crystal trophy because he said Antwain’s parents had done a great job raising him. Sailes called him an inspiration to other children his age and said he had made both Detroit and Flint proud.

And the calls haven’t stopped coming in.

His parents, Antwain and Tamisha Alexander, are in talks with the Disney for Antwain to do a show.

Antwain’s also headed into the recording studio to cut his first album – a gospel album, his dad said.

Yes he sings and plays the piano too.

The album has been in the works for a while but notoriety from the dance-off sped up the process, his dad said.

Antwain is taking his newfound frame in stride but “tries to “stay real humble,” he said.

He is a self-taught dancer from watching television and practicing.

“I just dance to have fun at family reunions and weddings,” he said.

His dad takes him to about four Piston’s games a year and he’s always wanted to get on the roving dance-cam but it didn’t happen.

When the camera finally found him, his dad was not impressed.

“I am just shocked that all this came about over a one -minute clip,” Alexander said. “He wanted to get on camera the whole game and I kept on telling him to sit down because he was jumping in my way while I was trying to watch the game.”

But Alexander is happy for his son’s fame and enjoying it right along with him including family trips to New York and Los Angeles to tape shows.

“I support both of my children in whatever they do,’ Alexander said, “I am just happy I am at a place in my life where I can be fully supportive of both of my children.”

Antwain’s fame caps a banner year of blessings for his family. His older brother, Jevonte, was the quarterback for Carman- Ainsworth’s record-setting football team which made it all the way to the semifinal state championship game this year for the first time in school history.

In fact, the Alexander family was at that game in Lake Orion, downhearted over the loss to Clarkston, when the phone call came in from the Palace asking them to bring Antwain there ASAP.

The Pistons organization gave Antwain season’s tickets and let him pick out whatever he wanted from the Piston’s store. They’d like for him to pop up at future games but Antwain said he can’t make it to all of them.

Antwain is in the fifth grade at Carman-Ainsworth Randels Elementary School and his classmates are also enjoying his stardom.

“Antwain always has a smile on his face and everyone enjoys being around him,” said Bonnie Haffajee, Randels principal.

“I have been very impressed by his humbleness with his sudden “fame.” He loves to answer questions about his experiences on television and what it is really like back stage but he was quick to also share it is hard work as he has been getting only four hours of sleep a night. Antwain loves to laugh and has a gift for making others happy. We are very proud of our super star!.”

Antwain said he hopes to ride his newfound fame as far as he can and is now interested in taking acting lessons.

See the dance-off that started it all here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgPrQZ499nI

Watch Antwain’s Today show appearance here: www.today.com/orangeroom/ usher-kids-viral-dance-earns-orangeroom award-2D11724264


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