The second season of The Prancing Elites Project, the hit Oxygen show following a black gender nonconforming dance team from Mobile, Alabama, has kicked off — and the team hopes you’ll let them dance into your living room and hearts.
The Prancing Elites made a name for themselves in the underground J-Setting community but quickly launched into the limelight when their reality show premiered on Oxygen last year.
Metro got a chance to catch up with the Prancing Elites at the Oxygen offices in New York City, where they schooled us on what J-Setting is, what to expect in Season 2, and how haters have brought them closer together.
Where do we find the prancing Elites at the start of Season 2?
Kentrell: Grown. As you can see we don’t look like we used to. We’ve grown. We get a lot of individual bookings and things.
Kareem: With growth comes opportunity and with opportunity comes a sacrifice. There’s a huge balance between our individual lives and the team.
Adrian: That’s what I like about this season, it showcases more of our lives in depth differently versus the group as a whole. There’s a lot more dancing too!
Speaking of dancing, can you explain to our audience what your dance style J-Setting is?
Kentrell: J-Setting, I guess the correct definition would be that it’s a mixture between cheerleading, voguing and hip-hop. There’s a lot of pelvic thrusting — that’s one requirement. There’s also a lot of synchronized movement and it’s all in increments of eight.
Kareem: That’s what makes it distinct from most styles, everything has to be synchronized. Everything is more particular in J-Setting.
Are the Prancing Elites the first gender nonconforming group to break into this, or has their been an underground community?
Kentrell: I’m going to answer your question as truthfully and honestly as I possibly know humanly how: We are the first gender nonconforming team to break into this industry. There have been a lot of teams underground, but we were just the first team to step out.
Does J-Setting have any roots in ball culture?
Kentrell: They do have J-Setting categories in voguing balls, but its not as big.
Kareem: The ball scene is so much more chill, it’s been around like way longer. I’ve never even been to a ball.
Kentrell: Balls end real —
Kareem: It’s the way they end not when they end. I watched a movie “Paris is Burning,” and I learned that voguing was a way to throw shade. So I think balls are more shady?
Kentrell: They are.
And J-Setting is less shady?
Kareem: No they’re both! Voguing was invented to throw shade, so of course its gonna be shady
Kentrell: If you had to put voguing and J-Setting in a ball together it would be horrible, because in Balls when they walk in categories…
It could get nasty?
Adrian: Very. Very quick.
Have you all seen a rise in J-Setting groups since the Prancing Elites have entered the scene via Oxygen?
Adrian: I’ve seen a lot more teams come out on the underground.
Jerel: When we first became nationally known people would say ‘I just can’t see myself doing that, or you know having the whole world look at me in leotard with makeup on.’ Since our show a lot of teams now are going public with it, wearing makeup.
Has there been any backlash since the Prancing Elites went ‘mainstream?’
Kareem: We get a hot following on our general social media outlets. If we go into a certain group with our peers of the J-Setting community its like quiet.
Adrian: Like shade. Barely any likes or anything.
Kentrell: But the underground teams, if they go in these groups and post stuff, I mean, everybody is praising them.
Adrian: We get the least support from the underground J-Setting gay community.
Kentrell: It’s one of those things where people don’t like to see people succeed in something they feel like can be better at than we are.
Kareem: I feel like there are other teams that aspired to be where are but we can’t help that the cards fell in our lap the way they did.
How have you as a group reacted to this backlash?
Kentrell: We were already close, but realizing we are really all we have.
Adrian: Everyday we learn something new about one another.
Jerel: Coming from a lot of notoriety it has been pulling people here and there, and I can’t say we forgot the connection but we didn’t feel too much focus on the connection collectively as a group. As time progressed, things changed.
Why should everyone watch season two of the Prancing Elites?
Kentrell: I feel like the world was introduced to the Prancing Elites last year, this season they will get to know the Prancing Elites.
Matt Lee is a web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely@mattlee2669.