WALKER, La. (BRPROUD)— One local teen is making a name for herself, working with celebrities to take her skills to the next level.
Have you ever danced like no one was watching? Well, Walker native Ralyn Johnson is dancing and everybody’s watching, winning over the judges on the national show So You Think You Can Dance.
“I just want for people to really see who I am, really get to know the person that I am, and the dancer that I am,” she said.
The rising star, at just 18 years old, secured her diploma at the end of May before securing a spot in the dance competition. She said she didn’t even expect to make it into the broadcasted auditions.
“I was like taking a deep breath in and was like, ‘Got it, this is really happening.’ I was shaking in my boots,” Ralyn said.
Ralyn got her start at On Moving Dance Company at the age of eight. After five years of dancing, she realized it was her dream.
“She told me this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, she wanted to make a career out of dance. So then we started giving her extra dance training, start going to several conventions,” explained Ralyn’s mother Ashley Johnson.
“When I was 13, that’s when I knew I wanted to do this when I got older and take it as a professional level,” said Ralyn.
Ralyn’s parents, Ashley and Jamar Johnson, have been there every step of the way. Cheering her on while taking on another challenge — repairing their home after Hurricane Ida.
“Our front room collapsed. The whole ceiling collapsed in the front room, but Ralyn and I sprung into action with that and we did it as best we could with the water,” said Jamar.
“It’s really life-changing just because I wasn’t living in my house. I was living with my grandparents,” Ralyn said.
Despite the obstacles, Ralyn said her mom pushed her to sign up and audition for the show.
“I’m like, ‘You know what? You have something bigger and better in store for you,'” recalled Ashley.
“She has an undeniable talent, and we just thought it was time for the world to see,” added Jamar.
She’s now killing it on Season 17 of the show, making it to the final eight. It all started with her very first dance.
From contemporary to African jazz, Ralyn said she has been pushed like never before.
“It’s pushed me really out of my comfort zone just because I haven’t done half of the styles. And it’s also made me trust in myself a lot more,” she said. “I like making people feel some type of way when I dance because I want them to feel what I’m feeling on stage.”