Home Arts & Entertainment Dancing to the beat of his heart

Dancing to the beat of his heart

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By Lizz Vensas
News Editor
The Music Within

Thump.  Thudump. Thudump.

Deavondre Jones has always felt the beat reverberating throughout his body.  The music he hears courses through his veins, it rolls down his spine, crawling through each limb.

“I can’t explain what happens when I start to dance,” said Deavondre Jones.  “I was never trained; I picked this up from my surroundings.”

Jones talked about how he would hear spiritual music at his church growing up.  He said that at a young age he would just start to move to the beat of the songs. Now he dreams of going anywhere where he could get a college education.  Being a first generation college student he has a lot to live up to, and aims to set an example for his younger siblings.

“Wherever I end up going I want dance to be my minor,” said Deavondre Jones.

A Mother’s Blessing

“He is talented, caring, understanding, outgoing, and a very lovable person,” boasted Pam Jones, Deavondre’s mother.  “He has the gift for dance.  It is just in him.”

Deavondre grew up in a single parent household.  His mother raised him and his two younger siblings.  His dad was around when Deavondre was a kid, but as he grew older he saw him more sporadically.

“There was a time when my mom didn’t support me in this,” said Deavondre Jones.  “It led to a lot of sneaking around behind her back.”

He explained that the church they went to in Benton Harbor had a lot of restrictions on what they could do.  Dance was one of them.

“Hip-hop wasn’t accepted,” said Deavondre Jones.  “So of course dancing to hip-hop wasn’t.  One time a higher member of our church saw me practicing.  She went straight to my mother.  My mom was freaked out that it was making her look bad.  That is when she tried to stop me.”

Pam Jones eventually accepted the fact that her son was growing up and that this was what he really wanted to do.  She saw that once he put his mind into doing something that he could do it 100 percent and follow through.

“She saw my passion and determination and she let it go,” said Jones.  “Now it doesn’t matter if she comes to one of my shows or all of them.  I know that she is going to be supportive.”

Pam Jones acknowledged that dancing does run in her family.  Saying that not only do all of her kids dance, but both she and her father were dancers.

“It is just in our genes,” she said.

 

Earning the Reputation

“In seventh grade I went to public school for the first time,” Jones said.  “The first time I danced was in a contest at school.  It was an impulsive moment.  I saw the other guys and they were terrible so I stepped out there.  As soon as I finished everyone started cheering.  I can’t remember what the prize was, but I did get a girl’s number that day.  I decided then I could get used to this.”

From there Deavondre Jones became involved with a dance group at the beginning of high school.  The group was called “I’m Saving Myself,” a high school organization designed to help kids stay away from kids and alcohol.  The group ended up performing in places like New York, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and more.

“Our instructor would always say ‘look at Deavondre,’” he said. “Because no matter what was going on in my life, if I got up on stage I would give it my all.”

After high school Jones moved to Grand Rapids at the suggestion of his friend and Mentor Brandon Stephens.

“I wanted him to get a world view outside of his comfort zone,” Stephens said.

Deavondre Jones and Stephens have known each other since 2008.

“He is very mature for his age,” said “His work ethic is infectious and can rub off on the people around him.”

Eclectic is the word that Stephens uses to describe Jones’ form of dancing.  Meaning that Jones can adapt his movement to a lot of different styles.

When Deavondre Jones first came to Grand Rapids he began to dance with a friend of his from GVSU.  Jones would dance while his friend filmed.  Eventually people started to come to him and ask him to perform at various events.  He was recently seen at GRCC’s Global Experience Festival.

His star power really shot up this past year when he participated in an online dance competition.

Through the annual online competition called Jingle Dreams, Jones and a friend uploaded a video of himself dancing.

“You send in this video and you talk about what city you’re from, what’s your goal through the New Year, and you show that goal through your video,” Jones said. “I wanted to be a professional dancer and that is what I showed.”

The video they uploaded shot to the top 8 in the competition and was featured on Wood TV News 8.  Unfortunately due to copyright issues with the song they used, the video was disqualified.

“I was mad at first, but I always have the philosophy that everything happens for a reason,” Jones said.  “And the people that won looked like they really deserved it.  It was their year for this blessing.”

 

What the Future Holds

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” said Jones said  “Even if I would be able to go on tour with Madonna, I am going to get a degree and have that to fall back on.  Even though I love dancing, I still love the industry of business.”

Deavondre Jones is going for a four year degree in marketing, with a minor in dance.  The schools he’s looking to get into are MSU, Columbia University in Chicago, and Columbia University in New York.  Like his move, Brandon Stephens also played a part in his choice to pursue a degree in marketing.

“Brandon got me an internship at whirlpool when I was a sophomore in high school,” said Deavondre Jones.  “There we went through marketing, sales, human resources, accounting and other fields.  In the end the people who judged us said I was really good at sales.”

One of the women who judged Deavondre Jones stated that if there was a room full of women, that Jones could sell them whatever was in the store room.

In his first semester at GRCC, Jones has already dived into the world of Business.  He was excited to take a sales class this past semester.

“I see GRCC as a stepping stone,” said Deavondre Jones.  “I want to do everything that I can here, build relationships and network.  Once I am able to finish my two years here I will move on. I hope that when I leave Grand Rapids that I have the support of this city like I do from Benton Harbor.”

“Everywhere I go I want to make an impact,”  Jones said.

Deavondre Jones’ advice for upcoming dancers is to practice.  Practice everywhere and anywhere that is available.

“That may sound cliché, but it’s true,” Jones said.  “Whatever you put into it, you will get out of it.”

Jones has put his heart into everything he has done.  Into school, and his passion for dance.  With performances like the one at the Global Experience festival, that raw passion shines through.

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