Show stopping 6-year-old Johanna Colon brought down the house with her performance to Aretha Franklin's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" at her dance recital on Saturday, but dad Carlos Colon tells Yahoo Parenting that her real passion is becoming a “dancing cooking teacher.” (Photo: YouTube)
The only thing louder than the applause over viral sensation Johanna Colon’s sassy recital dance to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” on Saturday was her father’s proud cheers. “Woo, go Boo Boo!” Raleigh, North Carolina dad-of-two Carlos Colon can be heard shouting on the YouTube video during his daughter’s nearly 3-minute performance, which has been viewed a dizzying 20 million times on Facebook since it was posted on June 7, the day after the recital. “That’s my baby!”
“It’s was an amazing feeling to see her out there because she just loves to entertain,” Carlos tells Yahoo Parenting about the 6-year-old insta-sensation, who has actually been working on her moves for quite some time now, with lessons at Heather’s Dance Inc. in Knightdale starting at age 2. “Her teacher picked that song for her because she knew Johanna would put her own twist on it.”
The rising first grader “practiced very hard,” mom Elissa Colon told Today. “She would make me play [“Respect”] on Pandora constantly…She really didn’t know who Aretha Franklin was, and when I told her about her and played it, she said, ‘Ooh, she’s got a lot of sass, mommy.’”
And though Johanna showed lots of her own spunk on stage last weekend, Carlos says it’s her gentle side that really shines at home, where she dotes on little brother C.J., 3, who has been in and out of the hospital for surgeries to address his congenital colon condition, Hirschsprung’s disease. “When you meet her in person, she’s the sweetest kindest thing,” he brags. “The past year or so she’s been taking a backseat to her brother’s illness, so for the attention to be on her now is amazing. I’m so proud of her.”
The Colon family (Photo: Carlos Colon/Facebook)
Johanna, however, is more jazzed about her accomplishments in school than on stage. “We told her yesterday that the video of her dance has been getting a lot of attention and she just said, ‘Oh, OK. Can we go to get my ice cream now?’ because we told her she could have some because she got a good report card.” (Mom Elissa boasted on Facebook Monday: “She came home with a report card full of 3s and 4s!”) “She’s excited about the report,” says Carlos, who shares the feeling. “With us, school and education comes first” — even if she wants to pursue a career on stage in the future.
“She’s been dancing since she was little and she can continue as long as she keeps her grades up,” says the dad. Johanna’s dream job, however, is only partially about performing. “She says she wants to be a dancing cooking teacher,” he says. “I don’t know how that is possible but I just tell her, Hey, go ahead!”