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Airman finishes second in online dance competition

By Mark Buffalo

This article was published January 8, 2018 at 11:04 a.m.

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Lt. Col. Tiffany Feet, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, presents Airman 1st Class Zachary Perkins, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, a certificate for achieving runner-up status in the 2017 Air Force Entertainer of the Year, Group 1, Nonvocal category, on Dec. 13 at the Little Rock Air Force Base. Perkins, a four-year animation dancer, danced to “Voice of Reason,” by Haywire, in the online video talent contest sponsored by the Air Force Services Activity.

An airman from the Little Rock Air Force Base recently showed off his dancing talent for an online competition.

Airman 1st Class Zachary Perkins of Van Buren placed as runner-up in the 2017 Air Force Entertainer of the Year in Group 1, for dance, on Dec. 12. Group 1 is the nonvocal category for Air Force active duty,

Guard and Reserve military personnel.

Senior Airman Marcus Ward of Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, received first-place honors. Ward was also named the 2017 Entertainer of the Year for the entire Air Force.

Perkins, who will turn 20 on Jan. 21, has been dancing for four years.

“It was online,” he said. “There are a few categories. You go to the website they had online for the Air Force and submit a video. You tag your commander in it and submit it. It goes to actual live judges, who judge it based on video quality, audio quality and the actual performance. They then select who they felt was the best out of the applicants.

“It’s like a real-life talent show, but it’s online.”

Perkins danced to “Voice of Reason,” by Haywire, in the online competition.

“It’s completely freestyle,” Perkins said. “I’ve never choreographed anything. I just pieced it all together and go for it.”

Perkins said he learned how to dance his type of technique, which is similar to hip-hop, by watching online videos.

“It’s called animation,” he said. “It’s a mix of hip-hop with a little more technicalities. It’s a bass-heavy song.”

Perkins, who graduated from Van Buren High School in 2016, said he became interested in music, and that led him to dancing.

“From there, it also helps with personal stuff,” he said. “It was just a hobby. It got me out of the house. I didn’t have to worry about getting into drugs or drinking.

“I’ve been doing this for four years, and I’ve always been told that I’m good, and I should do something with it. I had won a couple of talent shows back in high school.”

Perkins received $500 for finishing as runner-up.

“I want to buy a new pair of dance shoes,” he said. “My old ones are pretty ragged.”

For a complete list of all winners, visit myairforcelife.com/entertainer.

Perkins’ dance is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3Y15Hg5u34.

Perkins, who lives on base, is the son of Eric and Vanessa Perkins of Van Buren.

“I like it a lot because I can go back home and visit on weekends, but at the same time, it gives me my personal space, and I hang out with friends and enjoy my alone time as well.”

Perkins is a 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, working on C-130s.

“I take care of the aircraft and fix it up so that the pilots can fly it safely and not have to worry about anything happening to them,” he said. “I’m currently on my second year and one year on the base. I signed up for six years.”

Perkins said he enlisted during his junior year of high school.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was 13,” he said. “It’s a stepping stone for future plans, in case I want to change it up a bit.”

Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or mbuffalo@arkansasonline.com.

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