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Ragin’ Jazz: Let’s hear it for’THE BOY’

Kyle Lavergne blazes trail with Ragin’ Jazz

Kyle Lavergne likes to remind people that he doesn’t bite, he’s not mean and he’s nothing special. Yet the first and only male on UL’s Ragin’ Jazz dance team is saddled with loads of attention.

Lavergne recalls one intoxicated UL fan yelling obscenities at him during a basketball game until the drunk was escorted from the Cajundome. Lavergne knows fans are pointing and whispering as he kicks and tumbles, surrounded by 20 females.


But Lavergne only dances harder.

"I’m pretty sure people say things, but they’ve never gotten in my face," said Lavergne, 20, a graduate of Carencro High School. "They try to mock you, but I’m confident in what I do and it doesn’t matter. I just do my job. This is what I love to do."

Lavergne’s love of dance has him in his third year with the Ragin’ Jazz, the UL dance team that performs at home football, basketball and volleyball games, along with other university and alumni events. Lavergne has been one contributor in the team’s success, which includes three top 10 rankings at the Universal Dance Association camp at the University of Alabama. The team will compete for the national title in dance and hip hop at the UDA championships in January.

Lavergne was team captain last year. But to teammates, he’s "The Boy."

"I always come in before practice and draw all over the chalkboard," Lavergne said. "I’ll write ‘I love my ladies" and it says ‘Love, The Boy.’

"They’re my ladies and I’m The Boy."

"The Boy" has been interested in dance since the age of 3, when his mother took him to a dance studio. But the studio required ballet and Lavergne recalls his mom saying, "You’re a boy. You’re not taking ballet classes."

By sixth grade, Lavergne was a gymnastics power tumbler and began dancing in local studios. He continues to do studio work and even performs with the Lafayette Ballet Theater. Lavergne recently was cast for LBT’s upcoming production of The Nutcracker production for the seventh time.

Like his teammates, Lavergne maintains a rigorous dance and exercise schedule that lasts year round. In addition to Ragin’ Jazz events, most team members dance in studios and practice during the summer for camp competitions.

Lavergne can’t imagine doing anything else.

"It’s kind of like anything you have a passion for. It’s something in you that you love to do, want to do and couldn’t live without," he said.

"There’s a lot of hard work and a lot of hours. I dance seven days a week this year. It gets to be a pain, with school and work. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it."

Michelle Bernard, team choreographer and UL’s spirit group coordinator, knows Lavergne’s love of dance. But she was afraid "The Boy" would steal attention from the girls, resulting in a team rift.

That division hasn’t happened.

"It’s been good because he pushes the girls, because they don’t want Kyle to be the attention getter," Bernard said. "It pushes him in areas where he may lack a little.

"It’s been great. Everybody at the university knows him. If they don’t know his name, they know him as the boy on the dance team."

Chloe Angelle, the team’s current captain, said Lavergne has been an inspiration. Angelle has known him since high school.

"When he was in high school, it was somewhat of a controversy because it had never been done before in this area," Angelle said. "I’m definitely glad to see that it happened. I respect him so much.

"Not only is he an awesome and sensational dancer, but he proves a point. He shows you do what you want to do. He deserves to be here."

Photos by John Rowland/jrowland@theadvertiser.com

Kyle Lavergne, the first and only male on UL’s Ragin’ Jazz dance team, cheers on the crowd at the Sept. 15 football game against McNeese.