By Jayla Johnson
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 9:54 AM CDT
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - From Dothan School of Dance to Radio City Music Hall, local dancer Joneisha “JoJo” Carmichael is launching her career as a Radio City Rockette.
Carmichael joins the legacy of the prestigious dance group based in New York that made their debut 96 years ago in 1925. She says finding out she was chosen was one of her best moments in life.
“In that moment it felt like a dream….surreal…wow...that really just happened,” says Carmichael. “This is real. I’m going to be pursuing my dreams of dancing professionally. as a Radio City Rockette...in new york city...at Radio City Music Hall.”
As a daughter of 2 military parents, JoJo moved to Dothan at the age of 4 once her parents were stationed at Fort Rucker. She says her family, and the strength she learned from them, helped her to be the person she is today.
“They have been more than my backbone,” says Carmichael. “The biggest supporters I could ever ask for, and I am in this position right now because of them.”
As a dancer, she credits her skills to her instructors at the Dothan School of Dance for “planting the seed” of being a Rockette and pushing her to be the dancer we see now.
“If it wasn’t for Ms. Ashley and Ms. Tracy seeing the potential that this little girl had and believing in her wholeheartedly and putting so much time and effort into the talent that I had...the talent that they bred out of me. The talent that they believed I had, even when I didn’t see it...I don’t know where I would be,” says Carmichael.
Throughout her teenage years, Carmichael danced on many teams at North View High School, now known as Dothan High School. After graduating, she went to Pace University where she pursuing a degree in commercial dance.
Here, she created a new dance community away from home that she has come to love.
“It is one of the most supportive environments I think I have ever been placed in my entire life,” says Carmichael. “Everyone, all of the teachers, all of the professors. Everyone is rooting for everyone and everyone wants to see you win.”
With new attention on athletes and their mental health following Simone Biles’ decision at the Tokyo Olympics, Carmichael says she knows this next chapter in life will be tough, but she’s ready to take the leap.
“Going in headfirst and simply being grateful I think for me, personally, simply will eliminate mental blocks that may come up,” says Carmichael. “With that, I think enjoying the process with the people that’s doing the exact same thing with me, and knowing that I’m not alone. If this is tough for me this is tough for everyone else that’s doing the same exact thing. that I’m not alone in this opportunity.”
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