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Lil Beulah Boy joins DeKalbs senior line dance phenoms

Donna Williams Lewis | 7/27/2012, 11:05 a.m.

The high-stepping, booty-shaking Beulah Boys are used to wowing audiences across Atlanta, but an Aug. 4, they have a little something extra for the CrossRoadsNews Family & Back-to-School Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest.

The group of eight dancers, ranging in age from 57 to 72, will be joined by 7-year-old Benjamin Ravenel, a kid who literally danced his way into the band.

Yall gonna love Benjamin! said the groups spokesman, Nick Bowers. Hes good. When we brought him to practice, he caught onto it instantly.

The group was performing at the Best of Small Business Expo in April when Benjamin began following along.

His mother, Debra Ravenel, said he just started dancing, doing their moves.

Mr. Nick said he almost forgot their steps because Benjamin was out there doing their dances, she said.

When the performance ended, Benjamin took pictures with the Beulah Boys and then wandered off with his mother through the expos exhibition tables.

They were headed back toward the stage to catch the expos final prize drawing when a woman theyd been standing near earlier came rushing toward them.

Theyre looking for you! she said. They want your son to dance with them!

She handed Ravenel a business card the Beulah Boys had given her.

What happened next was a match made in Western heaven.

Ravenel said her son has been dressing up like a cowboy since he was 2 years old. So all Benjamin needed to look like a Beulah Boy was a matching shirt.

Now a Lil Beulah Boy, he will join the men, some of whom are old enough to be his grandfather, on the Main Stage in front of Sears during the expo at 3:30 p.m.

The dancers will wear their trademark black cowboy hats, black jeans and black boots. And so will Benjamin, whos looking forward to his third performance as a Beulah Boy.

Because I dance pretty well, he said.

Benjamin is headed to the second grade at Lithonias E.L. Bouie Elementary School where hes on the Principals List.

His mother calls him a great kid.

Hes an ambitious fellow, she said. He likes to play, but hes not just all play. He likes to think about his future.

She says that he always talks about the movies and what he wants to do.

He draws pictures and makes cards. He works on little books. He makes robots out of toilet paper rolls, she said. He doesnt want to miss Sunday school and he likes to go to Bible study.

When he grows up, Benjamin said, he wants to be a dancer and a doctor. And, he said, I want people to be happy.

The Beulah Boys now plan to recruit other young boys for their group. Bowers grandson, 6-year-old Kenton Bowers, is rehearsing to become one of them.

Kenton isnt ready to join the group on stage just yet but he will be dressed up like the group for a guest appearance.

The Beulah Boys recently won DeKalb Countys Senior Line Dance Competition for the second time in a row and are now performing every weekend.

Theres no type of dancing we dont do, but we dont do anything raunchy, Bowers said.

In May, they performed at an Alabama Connection scholarship dinner and dance in Cincinnati. On Thursday, they were at Atlanta City Hall for a celebration of the July 26, 1990, passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

They perform at senior centers, schools, community events and churches and are booked up for two months.

They have three events scheduled on the day of CrossRoadsNews Expo, including a black-tie event at the Atlanta Hilton in Buckhead.

These guys make sure their bodies are up to the challenge.

Every weekday, Monday through Friday, they hit the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church gym at 6:30 a.m. for a workout.

At 8 a.m. they start their one-hour dance rehearsal.

How do they do it?

God is good, Bowers said. Thats all I can say.

For more information, call Nick Bowers at 404-310-0067.