A former Odessa woman will compete Monday in the first audition episode of the 16th season of “So You Think You Can Dance” at 8 p.m. on FOX.
Amanda Butler is a West Texas native whose passion for dancing was established while she served as a member of the Ector Junior High School dance team and the Odessa High Showgirls dance middle school and high school dance teams. After graduating from OHS in 2007, she went on to dance for the North Texas Dancers and in 2012, The Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers, who are notably recognized as the first professional Hip Hop Team of the NFL.
After five years of shifting her focus to being solely a devoted wife and mother, she eventually began to incorporate her love of dance back into her life by teaching dance-cardio classes and joining a group of performers called “Mom Crew,” based out of Dallas.
With “Mom Crew,” she has most recently performed alongside New Kids on the Block on the Dallas leg of their “Mixtape Tour” and also been granted an invitation to “World of Dance LA: The Championship.” Her main goal is to show her three girls how important it is to go after their dreams, no matter the circumstances, and to show moms everywhere that they are, in fact, allowed to do so.
Butler will be the competing dancer, but will dance with about 13 of the Mom Crew dancers on Monday. “Oh my gosh,” she said via phone. “I am just so excited.”
She gushes when she talks about how dance helped her claim back her body after three children and about how Mom Crew has all moms and grandmothers dancing and that she loves it. “My last baby was a rough pregnancy,” Butler said. “I couldn’t wait to get my body back and to dance again.”
She said dance was always her thing — including here in Odessa at OHS and Ector and that she also studied several years at Tammie Locklar’s Dance Studio.
“Dance was always my outlet in terms of everything,” Butler said.
She said Mom Crew is a wonderful creative outlet full of women all have busy lives, but “work their butts off.”
She said she attributes much of her dancing success to her time at Ector and OHS. “Arts are so important to our school system, especially in public education,” Butler said. “It’s important that kids get exposed to things that they can feel something. Music and dance have always helped me to feel things.”
She said the arts help students who aren’t that great at athletics, but who want to feel part of something. “We need to understand that kids need that outlet physically and musically … to play an instrument or to excel at dance is priceless.”
She’s been a huge fan of “So You Think You Can Dance” and looks forward to the competition.
“It’s such a treat to be a part of it,” Butler said.
Hosted by Cat Deeley, the Emmy Award-winning “So You Think You Can Dance” returns with an all-new season on Monday. Joining fan favorites Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy at the judging table for auditions and the Academy rounds are Emmy Award-nominee Laurieann Gibson, Lady Gaga’s longtime choreographer and creative director, and Emmy Award-winner and SYTYCD alum Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval.
The dance competition series spotlights highly skilled dancers between the ages of 18 and 30 who compete in contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, animation, breaking and more to secure their place in the SYTYCD studio, competing each week for America’s votes. Contestants will be eliminated weekly until a winner is named on the season finale.