Three dancers from Oakland County — including one from Waterford Township — are making their way to the Palace of Auburn Hills after being selected from roughly 200 hopefuls as members of this year’s Detroit Pistons Mob Squad dance team.
Shayla Salisbury, a 12-year-old from Waterford; Andrenee Foster, 12; and Lauryn Herron, 9, were selected after tryouts at the Palace last month.
Each of the girls attends My Dance Studio, Inc., in Keego Harbor, and works hard under the tutelage of studio owner Jenna Williams.
“I’m so proud, but not surprised,” Williams said. “I know how hard they work at their craft and it’s exciting for them at such young ages to have these opportunities already.”
Williams said her approach to instruction is to make use of as many resources as possible to give the girls an edge during competitions.
“We did audition prep over the summer and tried to bring in teachers and choreographers, too, so the girls can pick up choreography quicker,” Williams said.
This is Salisbury’s third time with the Pistons. In 2009, she was chosen as a member on the Junior Automotion team and then again in 2010 for the Spark Plug hip hop dance team.
She has been dancing since she was 3-years-old, but began intensive training when she was 7.
“I take her wherever she can get the training,” said Shayla’s mother, Christine Salisbury. “She just recently danced with the Universal Circus at Shain Park (in Birmingham) through Project Rockout.”
Salisbury’s diverse repertoire includes tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, technique and master classes.
“Her favorite style of dance is musical theater, where there is more acting on stage,” Christine Salisbury said. “Last year she competed with her solo Amazing Mayzie from Seussical the Musical.”
On top of a stringent dance schedule, Shayla is a cheerleader at Orchard Lake Middle School and maintains an A average in her classes.
Herron, the youngest of the three chosen dancers, is considered a natural by Williams.
“She’s very gifted,” Williams said. “She picks up choreography very well.”
Herron has been dancing for six years. The Mob Squad is an exciting segue into the competitive world of dance, she said.
“It felt great to make it because it’s been a dream of mine to be on a professional dance team at 9-years-old,” Herron said.
Foster is also a straight “A” student despite her jam-packed dance schedule. Her determination is one reason she was a standout during tryouts.
“I was surprised because there were so many dancers there and I thought the others were better than me, but I made it,” she said.
The girls performed with the Mob Squad for the first Pistons preseason game on Saturday, Oct. 13.