What seemed like a fun way to pass the time on a slow Sunday evening shift at the local Walmart turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for one Gunnison teen.
Faith Brock, a senior at Gunnison High School and competitive dancer for High Attitude Dance Academy (HADA), recently traveled to Dallas, Texas, to film in an official Walmart commercial. Brock was one of about 50 dancers across the nation to enter the Walmart World — a sanction of the corporation specifically made for the associates — “Walmart New Year New Dance” competition.
Of the 50, six Walmart employees were chosen to take part in the commercial, which is also a music video for the corporation’s associate rap group, Code S.P.R.K.
Being chosen as one of the dancers — and the youngest — was just one of the welcomed shocks Brock experienced in the whirlwind experience, that she figured she would just participate in for fun.
Brock was encouraged to try out for the contest by a visiting associate, Grand Junction Walmart Assistant Manager David Trujillo, who had previously entered her into another contest around Christmas time. It featured her donning a Santa suit and dancing down the seasonal aisle.
Knowing she was a dancer on the side, Trujillo filmed the second video, which is currently on Walmart Gunnison’s Facebook page. Brock shows off a variety of dance styles that she has honed over the seven years as a dancer for HADA.
“She’s talking about dancing all the time,” he commented. “I figured we could showcase her talent.”
‘Her raw talent was visible right away’
From ballet to hip hop to jazz, Brock puts on a lively performance in the video, which ended up garnering thousands of views online.
“Within the first few hours, it started exploding,” Brock recalled. “I didn’t realize how many views it was going to get.”
The experience was a bit surreal for the teen, who said more and more people around town started recognizing her. Soon enough, Walmart World officials caught a viewing, and were instantly impressed with her performance and range.
“Her raw talent was visible right away,” said Russell Bloodworth, associate director of Walmart World and creator of the Walmart Sparks Talent project. “You could clearly see the passion on her face for her art. People need to see not just your raw talent on display but also experience and love for what you do. That’s what will ultimately draw them in.”
Bloodworth contacted Brock and offered her the opportunity to take part in the whirlwind experience of being flown out to Dallas to film the commercial with other Walmart associates and dancers.
Brock recalled dancing down the aisles of a three-story Walmart building alongside the others and Code S.P.R.K. with a wide grin on her face. The experience was a bit strange, she said, as strangers continued shopping around the commotion.
The opportunity opened Brock up to a whole new city and culture, but most memorably, introduced her to a community of individuals who all share the same passions.
Finding her calling
Brock began dancing in 2013 after a few years of participating in gymnastics, a niche she explained she never really fell into. After her first lesson at HADA, however, Brock knew she found her calling.
“The second I went into one of my classes, I fell in love with it,” she said. “I was drawn to the atmosphere and the creativity of it.”
Brock quickly climbed the ranks of the academy — from just taking recreational classes to soon landing a spot on the elite competition team.
Dance will hopefully be Brock’s future, as she plans to pursue the art as a career in some way. She has already made it into the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy and plans to continue to audition for dance programs at other universities.
Having the opportunity to meet others who have successfully been able to keep their passions alive through the commercial was the biggest takeaway for Brock.
“It was cool to be the youngest because it really pushed me to see outside myself and see how I can continue down this path,” she said. “Like, these people are older than me but they’re still (dancing) and me starting out so young, it’s really an eye opener to see that I still have the opportunity… I’m here now for a reason and I can expand from here.”
(Roberta Marquette can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)