'America's Got Talent' Features Peninsula Dancers

The San Mateo-based dance group 'Academy of Villains' is advancing on the show, and will soon perform again.

It comes as no surprise to Linda Shinn, mother of CJ "Pharside" Jennings, the executive director of the San Mateo-based dance group 'Academy of Villains," that the local hip-hop dance group is making waves on NBC's popular show America's Got Talent.

Shinn is the executive director of the dance studio, House of Mayhem, where the Academy practices until as late as 3 or 4 a.m. some nights.

"They're in 'hell month' right now; it's called that for the purpose of being diligent," she said.

South San Francisco residents Jennings and Krystal Meraz are the group's choreographers. The dancers left on Friday for New Jersey to gear up for their next performance, and will be returning on Thursday.

The Academy is comprised of dancers from San Francisco, San Mateo and Foster City. Reggie Brown, one of the dancers in the group, works at the Foster City Public Library. The library's staff has been cheering for him on the library's Facebook page for weeks, putting up video clips from the group's TV appearances.

After qualifying for the America's Got Talent competition show through a YouTube audition, the group wowed judges on Aug. 14, and advanced to the next round. They are now slated for the semi-finals.

Earlier this month, the Academy also competed in Las Vegas for Hip-Hop International, what Shinn calls "the Olympics of hip-hop," along with the "Young SkullClub," another dance group from House of Mayhem studio.


Check back on Patch for information about the Academy of Villains' next showing on 'America's Got Talent!'

UPDATE: The group will perform in the semi-finals Tuesday night, Aug. 28 on NBC.

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