When your four-year-old dancer self was busy doing pliés, grand battements, and tapping your feet at your nearby dance studio or community center, PhiNix Dance Crew Freestyle Director Cameron Okeke was in his living room in front of a TV. With a Men In Black VHS in the machine and Will Smith on the screen, four-year-old Cameron would repeatedly do the Men In Black dance with his mom all in the name of good fun.
15 years later, he would compete in front of a crowd of thousands at New Orleans’ Essence Music Festival, a dance performance that won him 5,000 dollars and a newfound confidence in his dance abilities.
“Every time I dance I remember my family, who for a very long time thought I had no dancing ability,” says Cameron. “They were incredibly shocked when I was selected as the Chicago finalist in the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. The entire experience was surreal; the food, the music, the late nights were breathtaking.”
Now, after meeting some amazing stars (Trey Songz and his mom apparently never talk about his music, so don’t bring it up!) and incredible dance crews like the FootworKINGZ, Cameron is back helping the PhiNix crew prep for their Friday show, REVIVAL. Even after his superstar status following the competition, Cameron is more than happy to be back where he belongs: right on UChicago campus. As Cameron explains, “I’ll always carry the competition with me in my heart because votes form my UChicago peers made it possible. So thank you.”
When he’s not dancing with PhiNix, you can catch Cameron freestyling across the Quad, or as a performer at Catcher in the Rhyme. But this weekend, make sure to catch Cameron at PhiNix’s REVIVAL, where you’re sure to see him pop, lock, and drop it with the Phifam!