Look for two SIUE alumni dancing on tonight’s episode of “America’s Got Talent.”
Rico Velazquez and Erin White both graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with bachelor’s degrees in theater and dance in 2014. Now they dance with the Diavolo Dance Theater, which has advanced through two rounds of the NBC dance competition show.
Diavolo, which is based in Los Angeles, auditioned in June. Described as “architecture in motion,” the troupe combines acrobatics and modern dance to create kinetic physical structures, according to their audition video.
Velazquez serves as the group’s spokesman, and praised the artistic director and choreographer, Jacques Heim, in their previous appearance. “Jacq will come up with an idea that sounds crazy to everyone, and sometimes we don’t even know if it’s possible,” he said. “But at the end, something beautiful is created.”
White is originally from Alton, and grew up taking tumbling and acrobatic classes at a local dance studio and eventually moved into dance and teaching, according to the Diavolo website. Velazquez’s biography was not immediately available.
Theater and dance professor Kristin Best-Kinscherff taught both Velazquez and White and praised them both as “super athletic and beautiful to watch.”
“Rico is extremely charismatic and has a great personality that comes across when he is performing. He just lights up on stage and you are drawn to watch him,” she said. “Erin combines her athleticism with great grace. She has a nice flow to her movement and at the same time is a fireball of power.”
The show airs at 7 p.m. CST on NBC. If Diavolo wins, the troupe will receive a $1 million prize.