The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|Asher and Ty want to advance their music, dance careers|
Asher and Ty Walker of Glade Hill are planning to move to Hollywood to pursue a career in music and dance.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post
Two young brothers, Asher and Ty Walker of Glade Hill, are on the move in the world of music.
Asher, 19, is still competing on the national television program "So You Think You Can Dance." He is also interning at a New York dance school and making plans with Ty, 22, to move this fall to the Hollywood/Los Angeles area.
California is where they feel they need to be in order to advance their different musical careers, they said.
Asher is a dancer, while Ty is a disc jockey with a special niche.
Two weeks ago, on June 6, the younger Walker was featured in a hip-hop dance performance to rave reviews from judges on the TV show. As a result of the effort, he received a ticket to Las Vegas to perform on the weekly show for as long as he can.
The actual competition begins among the top 20 on Wednesday, June 20. However, Asher is not sure his performance will be aired this week.
From this point on, it will be the viewers' votes that decide his fate, he said.
Cat Deeley serves as host, with Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy as judges.
Almost a year ago, Asher was selected from about 1,000 dancers who showed up in Atlanta, Ga., for a chance to perform on the show.
Last season, he didn't make it to the top 20, but judges were impressed and told him to work hard and try again next year.
"So I took their advice and worked hard," he said.
Asher made the return trip to Atlanta on Jan. 5, and only about 30 of the dancers at the Atlanta tryouts were selected to go to Vegas on April 12.
"There were 120 from across the country that made it to Vegas," he said. "We were divided into groups and taught different styles of dancing they wanted us to perform. We had an hour to learn and perform each dance. That was tough because they were cutting after each performance."
Asher said that when it was over, "there were 18 of us left. And since we all had to sign contracts not to reveal any information, people here will just have to watch the show each week to see what happens."
The show was prerecorded for broadcast this summer so Asher's future won't be known for a while. The finale will be broadcast live from Los Angeles.
"And that's still several weeks away," he noted.
While Asher was doing the TV shoot, Ty was completing his college career, graduating last month from James Madison University with a degree in sociology. During his college years, he and a friend began hosting an on-campus dance club called Club GILTY. The idea caught on and became a regular, well-attended event, he said. Ty continues to host such events for private gatherings.
Although not trained in the art of dancing, Ty always loved music and has played drums with a number of groups. He is quick to point out that he, too, enjoys dancing.
So with the competition finished for Asher, his parents, Bill and Laura Walker III, took their son to New York City on Saturday, June 9. He will be spending the summer as an intern with the Broadway Dance Center, which is "one of the best training facilities in the nation," Asher noted.
During his internship, Asher is staying in a dorm room at Columbia University. Only 50 were accepted from approximately 2,000 applicants for the internship. One thing that helped him get into the school, he said, was a personal letter of recommendation from the legendary singer and songwriter Elton John.
John happened to meet the brothers after Asher and Ty got tickets to his concert in Roanoke recently. During the excitement and hype of the concert, the brothers started dancing, along with others, in front of the stage to music performed by the famed entertainer and his orchestra. John took note of the young men's dancing skills. Later, his manager got the Walkers' telephone numbers.
Later, they received an invitation and arrangements were made for them to dance on stage at Elton's next concert in Richmond on St. Patrick's Day. Their expenses were paid, along with receiving front row tickets.
"We were dancing in front of the stage and having a good time," Ty recalled. "Then his manager came up and told us we would be dancing on stage 'three songs from now.' I love to dance but I'm not trained like Asher."
The brothers put their heads together during the next three songs and tried to get some kind of a routine worked out on what they would do.
"We just threw together some ideas," Ty said. "Before that song came up, Elton announced there were dancing brothers in the audience, Asher and Ty Walker, and he called for us to come up on the stage. Man, there were 15,000 people there."
"I guess we did okay. The audience seemed to like us a lot. Then we were invited backstage after the concert and got to hang out with him," Ty added.
There is a video of their performance at Elton John's Richmond concert currently on You Tube.
Asher said that having the opportunity just to hang out with Elton John after the show was "really cool".
"We talked and he seemed to be really interested in what we wanted to do with our lives," he said. "He said he admired two young brothers from a rural area trying to follow their dreams and he wished us well."
But the brothers were soon to cross paths with "Sir Elton" again. John was performing in Las Vegas at the same time Asher was there competing. When learning Asher was in Las Vegas, John again arranged for front row tickets. Ty flew to Vegas, and after the show, the brothers once again went backstage where they updated the singer on everything they had been doing between visits.
During the conversation, Ty mentioned he was going to be in Los Angeles in May to talk with potential booking agents and to see some friends from James Madison. He also would be "scoping out" locations and prices of apartments for the brothers' impending trip this fall.
While Ty was in Los Angeles, he called John to let him know he was in town. John just happened to be in L.A. for a couple of days and invited Ty to dinner.
"I met him at Craig's Restaurant," Ty said. "Since you have to be 25 to rent a car, I was riding a bicycle. The funny part about it was, I had to ride a bicycle to get from where I was staying to the restaurant. I was all dressed up, but I didn't want to mess up my blazer. So I put it in a paper bag."
After being seated, Ty was looking around the restaurant "taking it all in. Right there, two tables from us, was George Clooney," he said. "Seeing him was just too cool."
"During the dinner, Elton asked me how I got there. When I explained about the bike ride, he thought it was hilarious," Ty added.
When they were ready to leave, John's chauffeur put Ty's bike into the back of a big SUV.
"Because the paparazzi was out front, Elton made arrangements for us to go through the kitchen and out the back door," Ty said. "When we reached the door, he asked me, 'Are you ready?' I asked him for what."
John explained they would have to make a dash to the SUV because the paparazzi would be in back of the building as well.
"Like he said, they were there taking pictures and videos," Ty added. "Then they took me and the bicycle back to where I was staying."
Asher said he didn't have anything planned after the internship except moving to California.
"But you never know what might happen while I'm in New York this summer," he said. "You know, something really big might come up."
Unless an opportunity is offered that can't be refused, Asher said he knows he will be with Ty, heading to L.A. when the time comes.
Parents Bill and Laura will be encouraging their sons all the way.
"They have their own individual dreams and I admire them for what they are doing," Bill Walker said. "A person never knows until they try."
And the proud mother of the boys agreed.