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Sierra grad shows she can dance
Qualifies for finals of FOX TVs So You Think You Can Dance
Mantecas Jonni Rogers, left, shares a laugh with Jessica Maxwell as Jonni was shown on the TV screen. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Jonni Rogers kept her secret under wraps for months.

She auditioned for Season 8 of “So You Think You Can Dance” back in October. Tryouts were held at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre.

Back then, Rogers, who is a 2008 graduate of Sierra High, juggled her duties as Oakland Raiderette – she’s currently gearing up for her fourth season on the sidelines with the Silver and Black – while chasing her dreams of trying out for the hit FOX-TV show.

“It was tough trying to keep it a secret from my Raiderette sisters,” she said while watching the national airing of the two-hour audition show Thursday featuring judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy.

The third judge’s seat for this season will be conducted on a rotation of Robin Antin, Lil C, Tyce Diorio, Toni Redpath, and Jason Gilkison.

Rogers earned her way to finals in Las Vegas. But in order to reach that point, she had to undergo two 14-hour days that consisted of dance, interviews, and photo sessions.

“There was a lot of talent at the audition,” she said.

Rogers can be seen again in “So You Think You Can Dance” in the coming weeks.

Harmony Flores, owner and operator of Manteca’s Dance Stars studio – she’s also a friend and mentor – invited friends and Dance Star members to the airing of “So You Think You Can Dance” featuring Rogers and others at the Oakland audition.

“Since it was my birthday, we decided to combine the two together,” said Flores, who reserved Chez Shari inside the clubhouse of the Manteca Park Golf Course for the occasion.

She also helped Rogers prepare for the audition, and was in the audience during the airing of the show. Meanwhile, some of Rogers’ students – she teaches a group of youngsters at Dance Stars – along with her parents waited for the outcome of those auditions.

Behind the scenes, Rogers had to dance improv, undergo interviews with the producers, do slow-motion steps, and perform in an improv section.

She was seen in the group dance.

“If they liked you, you went to Vegas. Or else you went back to choreography. In my case, I went back to choreography before being picked,” Rogers revealed.

But, in her moment of excitement, Rogers was censored while receiving her congratulatory hugs from students, friends and family.

“It was one ‘bleep,’” she said. “I was kind of embarrassed (seeing that on TV).”

Rogers, who specializes in jazz dancing, was contractually prohibited from commenting further on her “So You Think You Can Dance” efforts in Las Vegas.

She did receive a dozen or so text messages during the airing of her show. “They came from people who I cheered with along with my friends and family,” Rogers said.

Rogers, 21, has been dancing since she was 6.