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Morris teenagers to audition for 'America's Got Talent'

Marques Kjellesvik and Aurelius Lennon-Rios demostrate their dance routine for Friday's audition for America's Got Talent. The two Morris natives will be dancing in Indianapolis to compete for a spot on the show.
Marques Kjellesvik and Aurelius Lennon-Rios demostrate their dance routine for Friday's audition for America's Got Talent. The two Morris natives will be dancing in Indianapolis to compete for a spot on the show.

MORRIS – Track, basketball, football, scholastic team – Aurelius Lennon-Rios and Marques Kjellesvik are two very busy teenagers.

But after all of their practices, the best friends still make time to work on their dance routine a few hours a night, every night.

"It's our dream to just dance," Lennon-Rios said. "We would love to grow up and be a professional dance team."

Friday, the two will take their talents to Indianapolis where they are auditioning for the popular televised competition, "America's Got Talent." The duo dubbed themselves "Marques Aurelius" and will be performing a dubstep dance routine they have practiced for the last six months.

"It's a little bit nerve-racking," Kjellesvik said. "We don't know how many people we'll be dancing in front of – could be 1,000 or it could be none. We just know the judges will be there."

Dubstep is a popular genre of electronic dance music that puts less emphasis on lyrics and vocals and focuses more on beats and bass lines. To dance to the music, Lennon-Rios and Kjellesvik use common hip-hop dance techniques, like "popping," that involve muscle isolations mixed with fluid movements.

"Even before we started dancing, we loved dubstep," Lennon-Rios said. "We started watching videos of Marquese Scott and he really inspired us to dance."

The boys began watching videos of Scott – a well-known dubstep performer – about a year ago and haven't quit since.

Kjellesvik said they spent weeks just watching the videos for three hours a day before they actually tried dancing themselves.

"I would look at some of these crazy moves and think, 'I can't do that,'" Kjellesvik said. "But then you keep trying it over and over and eventually you're like, 'Ok, maybe I can do that.'"

The two are almost entirely self-taught, except for the guidance provided by Andrew Lennon-Rios, Aurelius's father.

Andrew grew up in New York and was a part of hip-hop and break dancing crews as a teenager. His expertise became useful when his son and Kjellesvik became interested in dance.

"Without my dad I don't think we would be here," Lennon-Rios said.

Andrew Lennon-Rios said he is committed to helping the two succeed as long as they are committed to their dream.

"I'm here for support," Andrew Lennon-Rios said. "They are so dedicated to this dream. They talk about it and they live it."

Several times during last summer, the two, along with another friend who no longer dances with them, would practice their moves on Liberty Street in downtown Morris.

"We put a hat down one day and were so surprised when we got $35," Lennon-Rios said. "People would stop to watch us. It was really cool."

About three months into dancing, Lennon-Rios said he saw the America's Got Talent tour would be coming to Indianapolis and decided he and Kjellesvik should develop a routine for the show.

"They started frustrated but then they got through that mental block and kept going," Andrew Lennon-Rios said. "That's really encouraging for me to see because now I know if they set their mind to something they will get it done."

The boys are confident they can go far in the competition, but are committed to dancing whether they succeed Friday.

The two said they love performing and being creative and are even open to trying other types of performance art or anything that lets them be creative.

"If they tell is no then that's fine," Kjellesvik said. "That just means we're going to go home and work harder."

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