Two University of Arkansas students, who grew up in Fort Smith, have been chosen to perform at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers basketball game on Jan. 22.
Brian Smallwood and Michael Corbin were selected to dance at halftime after winning an online competition set up by Katrina Steward. Steward, now a professional choreographer in LA, got her start teaching dance in Fort Smith.
"I actually learned how to dance from Katrina," Smallwood said. "She was the director for us here at church. So it's just really kind of cool to be able to share this experience with her."
Both Corbin and Smallwood learned to dance with Steward at St. James Baptist Church in Fort Smith before she moved to LA.
That's why they say they were so interested in taking part in her competition, and ultimately making it to LA where they could perform with her again.
"We had to submit an essay talking about why we love to dance and what this opportunity would mean to us," Smallwood explained.
After they won the essay portion of the contest, they head to show their moves in front of the camera.
"In my video, I was just having fun," Corbin said. "I did hip-hop and I was just free-styling really. I had my music playing in the background."
Smallwood took a similar approach in his video.
"I tried to showcase everything I can do," Smallwood explained. "I started off with a little bit of hip-hop. Then I went on and did some of the dances that I've performed here at church."
Smallwood and Corbin will perform with Steward at halftime during the game.
"It hasn't really hit me yet because it's just such a big deal," Smallwood said. "But I'm sure once Friday gets here and I'm walking into XNA, it's going to hit me."
For both Smallwood and Corbin, this will be their first time attending a professional basketball game. It will also be the first time they have been to LA.
"I've never even be to LA before, let alone a big city like that," Corbin said. "My phone battery is going to be so dead from taking so many pictures."
The congregation at St. James Baptist Church helped raise money for their tickets.
"I'm just really thankful to have such an amazing church family," Smallwood said. "They really helped us make it to LA, and have been just so supportive through this entire process."
Smallwood and Corbin fly out to California Friday. There, they will be learning the routine with Steward. They'll perform at the game, and fly home the following morning.
If you would like to donate to help the dancers with their travel costs, CLICK HERE.