Of the 12 dance duos from around the country competing in the upcoming CBS family dance competition series “Come Dance with Me,” three of the teams are from the Santa Clarita Valley.
Created and executive produced by rapper and actor LL Cool J and actor Chris O’Donnell, “Come Dance with Me” is set to premiere at 8 p.m. Friday, April 15, on CBS and on demand on Paramount+. The premise of the series revolves around parents who’ve left their day jobs to, as the show’s description states, “strut their stuff” with the nation’s best dancers — their kids. From the drummer of the rock band Limp Bizkit to a program engineer and an account executive, the tables were turned on the grown-ups of these parent-child teams, with the parents in the position to learn from their professional dancer kids.
All three kids on these teams have been dancing for years. Maceo Sicam, a Castaic resident and student at the iLEAD charter school there, who was 14 at the time the show was shot last year in Australia, has been dancing since he was about 8 years old. He said he saw friends, cousins and teachers having fun on YouTube, and he was curious to try it for himself. And so, he got into the studio and trained and has been dancing ever since no matter where he goes.
“I’m dancing at school, in the shower — anywhere,” he said. “Because it’s one of my true passions.”
That’s right, Maceo said he dances in the shower. But he’s careful, he added, not to get too crazy so he doesn’t slip and fall.
Ava Otto, who is home-schooled in Valencia, was 10 when they shot the show, and said that when she was about 5 years old, she performed the song “In Summer” from the 2013 animated film “Frozen” for a talent show at home. She added that she choreographed the dance herself.
“I had the time of my life,” she said. ‘That’s how I really knew I loved being on the stage.”
From there, she began getting professional work, even playing a ballet dancer a couple years ago in a short film called “Big Tony’s Ballet.”
And Noah Ross, a Hart High School student who was 15 at the time they did the show, said that, as far back as he could remember, he’s always loved dancing and started taking dance lessons in the second grade, competing shortly thereafter and doing professional jobs, including music videos.
“Since then, it’s just been working, taking classes — dance is all I do now,” he said.
He added that he even danced with Maceo on a Univision show a few years back, and about two years ago, according to Sylvia Ross, Noah’s mom, he danced with Ava at the Rage Complex in Granada Hills, a dance facility that offers classes and space to perform.
“We all actually have a sort of connection,” Ross said, “and we’ve known each other from the past.”
The parents in these dance duos had no real dance experience at all before the show, making the competition especially challenging for them.
“From a dad’s perspective,” said Maceo’s dad, Albert Sicam, “when I used to watch my son dance — and really do well — I’d get critical on his facials and blinds and all that. And then you put me in that situation, and I’m like, who am I to critique? I can’t even do it myself. So, I stopped being critical after I got into this experience and let him do his thing because it’s easier said than done.”
Sicam, who was a member of the second-string cheerleading squad back in high school, is, by trade, a program engineer, so this was a stretch for him, he said. But that’s what made the experience all the better for his son. Maceo said the parent-child role reversal for the show was pure entertainment.
“To see him go through the process,” he said, “which took me almost half my life — and he’s doing this in, like, two hours — was really funny to watch him try. But it’s good, though.”
The kids from the two other Santa Clarita teams expressed similar sentiments. Ava said the role reversal with her dad, former Limp Bizkit rock band drummer John Otto, was gratifying.
“It was super fun,” she said. “I loved it because I take a lot of advice from my dad, but here he got to take the advice from me.”
Ava said she didn’t even get frustrated with her dad.
“He picked up things very quickly,” she added. “He was very good. I was so proud of him.”
Noah brought up how (trying to hold back a laugh) he had to change some of the choreography in the audition routine so his mom could actually do it.
“It was really fun and calming to not be in that role of being told what to do all the time,” Noah said, “and instead she’s being told what to do. There were a couple times where she’d get frustrated and, you know, I kind of forgot that I was still her child.”
Noah’s mom jumped into the conversation to defend herself. “I think he forgot that I’ve never danced. As much as I’ve watched him dance, and as much as I support him and cheer him on, I’m not a dancer. I’ve never danced. So, talk to me like I’m a toddler learning something for the first time.”
Ross worked as an accountant executive before doing the show with Noah, and dancing was definitely not her forte. Asked if she had any dance experience at all, she said, “Zero. Nil. 100% never.” Though, she admitted that, in high school, she was in the marching band and jazz band.
During the course of shooting the TV show, the dance duos, including the nine other teams from places like Phoenix, Stafford, Virginia, and Ogden, Utah, got to work with world-renowned choreographers who’ve collaborated with the likes of Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Paul McCartney. And while the kids on these teams were evidently leading the charge over their dancing counterparts — and enjoying the new leadership roles they shared over their parents — they each said the bonding experience with their parents was invaluable.
“It was kind of scary going into this,” Noah said, “but in the end, it was just so much fun and so exciting.”
Ava said she cherished the time with her dad.
“It really fulfilled my dream of sharing a stage with him,” she said, referring to the fact that her dad performed on a stage as a drummer. “It was technically my first ever daddy-daughter dance, because I’ve never had one since I was only in traditional school for kindergarten.”
And while Maceo laughed at his dad while he struggled to dance during the show, he doesn’t take for granted what his dad has done for him over the years. He said, “I wouldn’t have been a dancer if it wasn’t for him.”
In the end, according to Noah, that’s the kind of inspirational feel he hopes the show will provide.