Adam Bradley didn’t love dance at first.
In fact, a little convincing from his mother and sister, Sydney, is what got the now Derby senior started in elementary school. He’d stand in the back of the classroom, watch with his tap shoes on and gradually put more time into the class.
Nine years later, he represents the lone male member of the Pantherettes and has a deep love for the dance floor and also the drum line.
“People love to find male dancers for their teams,” Pantherette coach Gina Thrailkill said. “When you find someone like Adam that is very good, modest and humble at what he does … you enjoy it while it lasts because he is so good at what he does.”
While his versatility is growing, Bradley’s roots and passion lies with hip hop and breakdancing. The style has taken him locally and regionally in competition. It even opened the door to a trip to Tremaine Nationals in Orlando, Fla., on July 6-11, 2021.
The qualifier in Kansas City was a freestyle face-off and Bradley outmatched six competitors as judges eliminated them one by one.
At the same time, Bradley is proud of his diversified portfolio in dance as well.
“I try to focus on jazz dancing,” he said. “It isn’t my strong suit. It’s the style of dancing that I do the most, though. It’s more common to see it than hip hop. I am proud of how it has led me to a lot of different amazing opportunities.”
His passion and commitment for both activities is what impresses his coaches and teachers.
“He spends an incredible amount of time training, taking classes and attending intensive, all-day competitions and workshops,” Thrailkill added.
Thrailkill, who is in her third year of coaching alongside Stacey Lindsey, praised her senior for his ability to stay grounded amongst his competition and setting an example for his teammates.
“He is an extremely talented young man,” Thrailkill said. “He is so good in dance, drumming, but at the same time, he’s so humble in his talents. When we go to camp and he has been an All-American nominee and won it … he never lets it go to his head. He stays very, very humble.”
It’s a balancing act for Bradley. He is a multi-year member of both the Pantherettes and drum line and says he sometimes gets caught in the middle of knowing which practice, camp or workshop he can attend. Having to sometimes work with school, four morning dance practices a week and music classes, it creates a tight schedule for him.
However, that was helped by his ability to do band in the fall and more dance in the winter for the basketball season.
The senior is also grateful for how the two activities have aided each other.
“It definitely helps with musicality,” Bradley said. “I can hear rhythms better and I can listen to songs and hear different things that other people wouldn’t in their first listen. I’ve been able to travel and perform a lot and that’s my favorite part about being on both teams.”
Basketball season also spells the end of the Pantherettes’ performance season in front of Derby fans.
As a three-year member of the roster and a senior, Bradley is soaking in his final days with his teammates. He plans to continue teaching and instructing at Kelcy’s Dance Studio in Wichita after graduation.
“I’m trying to enjoy performing in front of people,” he said. “I want to take in that these are my last chances to perform and entertain people. I want to make it the best I can and try to remember how it felt.”