My Empire: Triple threat reveals how she built her dance empire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

My Empire: Triple threat reveals how she built her dance empire

Syreeta Dodson (Source: WMC Action News 5) Syreeta Dodson (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Syreeta dancing with the Bar-Kays. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Syreeta dancing with the Bar-Kays. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

This time on our My Empire series, we spotlight a Memphis triple threat who can dance, choreograph, and teach.

You can catch Syreeta Dodson dancing on stage with the Bar-Kays, but her real star-power comes from the young dancers she inspires.

Syreeta Dodson's Olive Branch and White Station High School dance classes only scratch the surface of her empire.

She's worked with Memphis' Prancing Tigerettes (which was featured on reality dance TV show "Bring It!") as well as her hand-picked FaceSouth dance team.

While Syreeta's dance credits include spots on the University of Memphis Pom Squad, the Memphis Redbirds, and Memphis Grizzlies captain, the foundation for her empire was laid as a young girl.

Click here to hear what Larry Dodson, lead singer of the Bar-Kays, has to say about Syreeta.

"I was coming to Havenview Junior High,” she recalls. "[I] didn't know anyone in the area, and I missed the dance tryouts."

At that time, Vickie Finch, the wife of late Memphis Tigers basketball coach Larry Finch, was the cheer coach.

"I performed for her in the middle of the hallway,” she explained. "I got a pat on the back and that I did a good job, but I still couldn't join the team. I missed tryouts. I was crushed. I kind of followed Mrs. Finch around the whole year."

When Syreeta's mother had a stroke, she says dance helped her cope during her mom's recovery.

Click here to see Syreeta's complete interview with Kontji Anthony.

"Walking in and seeing her head being stapled from here to here like a headband. I was still. I couldn't say anything,” she remembered. “I didn't know what to think or feel at that time. The moment I left the hospital, I went straight over to Mrs. Finch's house and upstairs and I just danced."

She eventually made the team and Finch is her mentor to this day. Now Syreeta mentors Mid-South girls through FaceSouth.

"We didn't start competing until 2010 and within our first year, we were international all-level champions," she beamed.

In addition to teaching at several Mid-South high schools, Syreeta travels the country teaching master classes at several colleges expanding an empire built on more than just achieving the perfect formation.

"It's about the lives you impact and the legacy you create for yourself, and that 'She taught me something.' or 'She was a positive person,' or ,She was a good teacher,'" Syreeta said. "To be a champion, you have to be able to accept the rejection. Accept the failure. Be determined. You have to work. You have to have a good support system."

Several of Syreeta's proteges have gone on to get dance scholarships. She is always looking for talent. Email Syreeta at or contact her on her Facebook page.

Click here to hear how Syreeta's husband says she continues to impress him.

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