02-18-2019  12:18 am      •     
Lisa Loving of The Skanner News
Published: 22 March 2012

This Saturday a unique spectacle show hits the Portland Rose Garden. The Nuclear Cowboyz are billed as "a freestyle motocross drama combined with outrageous pyrotechnic and laser displays synchronized to heavy metal, rock alternative and electronic dubstep music."

The event features acrobats on motorcycles and a modern-dance army.

The acrobat crew includes Bernard Lyght, a member of the "Cyborg Army" who grew up in Albany, Ga., and who now coaches young people for United Cheerleading and Performance Dance Center.

The dance squad includes Kacie Garland, who is a "Nuclear Cowgirl" originally from Gary, Ind., who has worked with Debbie Allen, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, Ballet Chicago and more.

We spoke with them via telephone from their tour stop in Tacoma, Wa., about their work, their regimen, and their vision for the future.

The Skanner News: Tell me about what you guys do in your show?
Kacie: I'm a dancer. I'm a part of the Soldiers of Havoc -- so the Metal Mulisha is one team, and then there's another team called the Soldiers of Havoc. It's a lot of fun.

TSN: So you guys are acrobats on bikes?
Bernard: No, no. Some of the riders, of course they do acrobatic skills on their dirt bikes but also have people specifically for acrobatics and stunts, and you have dancers as well.

TSN: So it's not just a sports show.
Kacie: No. It's a theatrical show.
Bernard: It's a theatrical motocross stunt show. With major pyro – and a whole bunch of things going on. Like it's real good for all ages.

TSN: What got you both into acrobatic work and movement?
Bernard: Well what got me into acrobatics, I've always done it since I was a little boy watching "Power Rangers" and "Ninja Turtles" and things like that. So I've always been involved in it and a friend of mine gave me a call and said, 'Hey I think you'd be good for this show.' So I came out and got started from there.
Kacie: I was drawn into dance. I was playing basketball and they told my mom to put me in dance class because it would help my footwork. So ever since then I fell in love with dance, I fell in love with movement. So auditioning for this was hard but I was so glad that I got the job.

TSN: What do you do in your workout and do you do anything special to keep yourself centered physically so you don't get injured?
Bernard: With me I'm a coach locally at home in Columbus, Ga., so every day I'm in a gym and I'm always working on the skills that I do; whatever I'm teaching the kids I already know how to do, of course, but I'm also use and apply the things I do in the show in teaching them as well.
Of course you always have to watch what you eat – you can't just pig out every day and all that stuff. Like you're not going to eat a huge meal before you go to bed. You always want to make sure you wake up and have a decent breakfast to hold you through the rest of your day. And of course watch all your extracurricular activities -- older people stuff as far as drinking and things and little fun times like that.  

TSN: Kacie is there anything you do to take care of yourself in this way?
Kacie: I wish I ate healthier. But I'm always training, I stay in a ballet class every day. I dance probably eight hours a day when I'm not on tour or the weekends. So as long as I'm in a ballet class and my modern classes, I think that's how I maintain my shape and my stamina.

TSN: Are you both students?
Bernard: I was in school but I fend for myself and I have for a long time and things got a little expensive. But I am trying to get back in – and that's my plan as of right now. We'll see what happens.
Kacie: I've completed my junior year of college, and now I'm on tour with the show so I'm taking a break but I plan to go back.

TSN: We've all seen where the Ringling Brothers Circus and the Circus Apollo are doing more acts that use acrobats on motorcycles. What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?
Kacie: For me I know I would love to have my own dance company, like Arthur Mitchell. He dedicated a dance company for little black ballerinas who wanted to be ballet dancers. And so for awhile people told black girls that you can't do ballet because, you know we're shaped differently, we have hips, we have butts – you know. And I would like to keep that dream going because he does not have his dance company anymore. So I would honestly like to dedicate a dance company to him in his honor.
I would like more so to choreograph.
Bernard: I would like to see myself going as far as I can in the performance industry and if I don't continue performing, onstage for the people, then I would like to have an internal job within a company, even this company that I'm working for now would be great. The people that I've met and the places I've been as part of this company – it's been a great ride.

TSN: What would you like our community here in Portland to know about the work you do and the trip you're taking here?
Bernard: It is one heck of a show – you're going to enjoy it no matter your age, your gender, even what your energy really is, especially if you're into motocross and motorcycles. Just with the tricks, with the dancing, with the acrobatics, with the things blowing up, the lasers – I mean we have fireworks inside.
Coming out to this show, it's going to be a show that you will never forget. Honestly.
Kacie: I want them to know that it is such an amazing show and not just because I'm in it (she laughs). Even if you've never seen anything like what the riders do and the motocross guys do – for me after the first time I ever saw what they do I could honestly say that I'm a fan of SMS riders and what they do and how they execute it. There's a lot of detail that go into this show and I just want everyone to enjoy it.
For ticket information click here.

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