What’s Working: Dancing with Shantoni Holbrook

MCCOMB, Miss. (WJTV) — From McComb, Mississippi all the way to Paris, France, a local man quit his day job to follow his dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Born in New Orleans, Bounce Music has bounded clear around the globe, thanks to artists like Big Freedia, but did you know that one of Freedia’s backup dancers got his start right here?

Shantoni Holbrook is in fantastic shape. With his job, he has to be.

“Very fit, especially on stage with Freedia, because, it’s like an hour show, and it’s very high energy,” Holbrook said. “It’s very pushing the limits, and you have to be in shape, there’s no ifs ands or buts about it. Basically, we have choreography, but we have spots in the show we can improvise and freestyle. You know, do whatever we please. I like freestyling better because I can just go crazy.”

He wasn’t always this free-spirited. He holds degrees from both Jackson State and Alcorn, including a Masters in Public Health, but he’s left that behind for now.

“I miss it a little bit, but this is really what I really want to do with my life,” he said.

When friends urged him to try out for Freedia’s reality show, he jumped at the chance.

“We’re constantly on flights, constantly in vans, traveling to different cities, even overseas, like Paris and Norway.”

Since last February, Shantoni guesses he’s danced in about 50 shows for Freedia. He rehearses about 20 hours a week, and for now, Shantoni wouldn’t have it any other way.

For others considering changing careers to follow a dream, He offers this advice, “You just have to really want it bad. Like you have to want it so bad that you feel like nobody wants it as bad as you.”

Holbrook loves dancing with Freedia, but dreams one day of dancing on bigger stages behind the likes of Beyonce.
Betting on yourself and following your dream.