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Shane Sparks for the 2013 KARtv Dance Awards
|Born||Melvin Shane Sparks
June 25, 1969
|Parent(s)||Wanda and Melvin Sparks|
Shane Sparks was born on June 25, 1969 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the youngest of three children born to Melvin and Wanda Sparks, both officers in the police force. Sparks spent some time in the hospital after his birth due to scoliosis. He became interested in dance at the age of eleven, when he started performing in talent shows. His interest in teaching became apparent when he started offering dance lessons from his own backyard. Dance became extremely important to Sparks after his sister's boyfriend was murdered, as it became a way for him to escape and feel safe.
Sparks has been recognized in the industry by receiving many awards for projects such as the “Best Choreography in a Feature Film” award for "You Got Served" at the 2004 American Choreography Awards and the “2005 BET Award” for co-choreographing with Omarion on the same film.
Sparks was featured as a judge in the hit MTV series America's Best Dance Crew. Along with Shane Sparks, JC Chasez (*NSYNC) and "Lil" Mama judged the crews, and Mario Lopez (Dancing with the Stars) hosted the show.
In 1993, Shane Sparks left his hometown of Cincinnati, OH to move to Los Angeles, California. Here, Sparks began making a name for himself as a choreographer. Several projects such as the feature film "You Got Served" and Fox's hit TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" made Sparks a force to be reckoned with. His solid resume of credits and awards today reflect his deep passion for dance and people of all ages and races admire his style of dance and suave attitude.
From a young age, Sparks knew his talent and gift was dance. No more than three months after his move to Los Angeles, Sparks began substituting at a hip - hop class at the Millennium Dance Complex, formerly known as Moro Landis, located in the North Hollywood Arts District. Due to his ability as a teacher and dancer, his class expanded from only three people to a record high of one hundred and seventy-five people.
Shane Sparks has worked with stars including Lindsay Lohan, Aaliyah, Monica, and Benji Schwimmer.
So You Think You Can Dance
The show features a broad variety of American and international dance styles including classical, contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop, street, club, jazz, and musical theatre styles, amongst others, with many subgenres within the categories represented.
America's Best Dance Crew
Sparks was a judge on MTV's dance competition reality show America's Best Dance Crew from seasons 1–4. He did not return to judge for the fifth season due to his arrest. Singer Omarion replaced Sparks during Season 5. Omarion left after season 5 so he could focus on his music career. In Season 6, D-Trix from Quest crew took over the spot as the third judge.
Arrest and conviction
On December 18, 2009, Shane was arrested on felony charges of child molestation. These charges stem from a relationship that took place 15 years prior to the arrest. He was charged with six counts of a lewd act on a child and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 16. An attorney for Sparks said his client had been unfairly accused of child molestation, noting that the allegations did not surface until after Sparks became famous as a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew." Attorney Steve Meister said the case "stinks to high heaven" because Sparks' accuser waited 15 years to come forward. He called the claims "extortion, Hollywood-style." Meister says Sparks is innocent and "will fight to clear his name." Sparks is said to have been at least 10 years older than the alleged victim. Sparks was arrested in December 2009 at his North Hollywood home and brought to a Van Nuys, Calif., jail, held on $590,000 bail, LAPD spokesman, Keisha Shaw, told TVGuide.com. French also added that Sparks was the "subject of an ongoing child molestation investigation." Los Angeles police investigators said the choreographer committed multiple lewd acts upon a child, starting in 1994. Sparks was released from jail on December 19, 2009 at 9:57PM.
The rumor was, Sparks and the victim dated for a period of two years. Their relationship took place 15 years prior to his arrest. When he landed a gig as a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew" the mother of the victim apparently came forward demanding money for her silence. When her demands weren't met she moved forward with filing a police report.
On March 11, 2010, Shane Sparks pleaded not guilty to eight sex-related counts of child molestation. Sparks entered his not guilty plea during a hearing in Van Nuys. He was due back in court on April 20 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence in the case for him to stand trial. There was some concern that there wouldn't be enough evidence based on the fact that the relationship took place fifteen years prior.
On August 16, 2011, Shane Sparks pleaded no contest to a single felony count of having unlawful sex with a minor under 16. Under a plea deal approved by LA County Superior Court Judge Martin Herscovitz, the other counts were dismissed. He was sentenced to 270 days in the county jail and five years of probation. He will also attend 52 sessions of sex-offender counseling. Under this plea deal with the state, Sparks neither admitted nor disputes the single charge. All other charges were dismissed.
- Oscar Dahl (June 13, 2007). "Exclusive Interview: Shane Sparks, judge from So You Think You Can Dance". buddytv.com. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
- Adam B. Vary (2007). "Strictly Y'allroom". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
- Dani Dornfeld and Sabrina Rojas Weiss (June 20, 2007). "Why So You Think You Can Dance Is Hotter Than Ever". TV Guide. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
- Kaufman, Gil. (2009-12-18) 'America's Best Dance Crew' Judge Shane Sparks Arrested and Charged With Child Molestation – Music, Celebrity, Artist News. MTV. Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
- Gina DiNunno. "America's Best Dance Crew Judge Arrested on Child Molestation Charges". TVGuide.com.
- Gil Kaufman. "'America's Best Dance Crew' Judge Shane Sparks Arrested and Charged With Child Molestation". MTV.com.
- Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Inmate Information. Lasd.org. Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
- http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/americas-best-dance-crew-sex.html?lanow Retrieved on 2011-08-16
- Shane Sparks: Reality Show Judge, Choreographer to Stand Trial on Child Sex Charges. ktla.com (2010-11-02). Retrieved on 2011-04-05.