Kansas cat, dancers in the spotlight

08/18/2013 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:18 AM

Add to the list of awesome things Kansas exports television-worthy 18-year-old dancers and a Friskies cat.

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails lately from readers and co-workers alerting me to the fact that the roster of finalists on Season 10 of the Fox show “So You Think You Can Dance” includes two dancers from Kansas. One was born in Wichita, the other hails from Topeka. Both will be on the 43-city “So You Think You Can Dance 2013” tour that launches later this month (but that sadly won’t make a single stop in Kansas).

The Topeka area also can claim fame for being home to Spots, a Friskies cat with a fascination for his tail that could earn him $5,000.

First, the dancers.

Among the top eight remaining contestants on the show, which airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday nights on Fox, are Du-Shaunt Stegall, who uses the stage name Fik-Shun, and Hayley Erbert.

Stegall, who is a street performer in Las Vegas, was born in Wichita but now lives in Las Vegas. Erbert lives in Kansas City, Mo., but was raised in Topeka and graduated from Washburn Rural High School.

Stegall, a Jamba Juice employee, drove from his home in Las Vegas to California last winter to audition for the show in front of judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe. His fluid but controlled style of hip-hop dance wowed them, and they immediately sent him on to the next round.

Erbert, a contemporary dancer who was about to start her freshman year of college as a dance major when she made the show, also impressed judges on her audition with her strength, grace and skill. Erbert’s been training as a dancer since she was a small girl.

By making the top 10, the duo earned spots on the “So You Think You Can Dance Tour,” which will tour the country throughout October and November. The closest stop to Kansas is Colorado Springs.

The finale will air on Sept. 10, and the top male and top female dancers chosen by viewers will each get $125,000.

Now about that cat.

Spotz the cat, owned by Debby Davis of Holton, a town north of Topeka, has made the finals of a video contest put on by Friskies cat food.

She submitted a video of Spotz flopped over the headboard of a bed, trying in vain to catch his own tail through a heart-shaped cutout.

Thousands of videos were submitted, and the winner of a $5,000 prize will be chosen by voters on the website www.TheFriskies.com. The winner will be announced on Oct. 15.

Spotz is up against tough competition, though, including a kitty caught talking to birds and another performing amazing feline acrobatics.

Get ready to vote, Kansas. We need all the 15 minutes of fame we can get.

About Denise Neil

Denise has been an Eagle reporter since 1997. She writes about pop culture on Sundays, reviews restaurants on Fridays and blogs at Dining with Denise. Previously, she worked for the Chattanooga Times and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

Contact Denise at 316-268-6327 or by e-mailing dneil@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Denise on Twitter: @DeniseNeil

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