WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — “Be yourself, dance, just do it,” said Monroe native Macky Allen ‘Cato Cade’ James.
Tuesday, July 5, 2022, a new NBC show ‘Dancing With Myself’’ featured James. The show is a dance contest with contestants, mostly who NBC found from social media. According to James, people from diverse backgrounds, who are not professional dancers, competed by listening to music and dancing.
“It’s a show with the premise, anybody can dance you just got to get up and do it,” James said. “They’ve got all sorts of backgrounds, demographics.”
According to James, Fleur De Lis Amputee is an amputee dancer who was also featured on the show.
“She’s an awesome dancer, awesome person,” James said. “I got to do a dance with her.”
Teachers, police officers, military, skate boarders and video game programmers are all involved in the show, according to James.
James is a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served in Okinawa and the Iraq War. During his deployment James found dance to keep busy and have fun, however when he came home, doctors diagnosed him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Now dance is a therapy for him.
“It kind of takes me away from, all the different things, of just life in general and the PTSD and kind of brings me back to center and allows me to be a better person really,” James said.
James, his wife Shefat Golam and two children Gabriel and Isabella James now live in New Orleans. They moved there for James to work at a job, but it did not work out.
“So, I started doing what everybody was doing at that time which was started recording dance videos,” James said. “I learned most of my dancing from the military and YouTube overseas.”
James joined the social media platform TikTok, even though he said he was not, and this helped him get on ‘Dancing With Myself.’
“It was kind of weird. Sketchy at first, they reached out to me on Instagram and at the time I had no Instagram presence,” James said. “I was like sure I’ll entertain it, and I applied… and it turned out to all be legit.”
He interviewed, tried out and then at the beginning of this year, he went to Atlanta to record the show. His favorite part was meeting new people.
“Getting to meet all the different people from all the different backgrounds and different areas of the country and different walks of life that all have one thing in common is everybody loved to dance,” James said. “Everybody had this kind of energy when we’re around each other. Everybody was like, ‘let’s learn this dance, let’s do this trend, let’s make this video’ even when we weren’t practicing the dances that we were going to be doing on the show.”
It was cool to have similar people with the same energy because most of the time it’s just me going out to the French Quarter or a park or something like that doing my dances, and not ever having somebody to do them with so that was really cool.Macky Allen ‘Cato Cade’ James
The contestants competed for a $25,000 prize.
When asked if he won how he thought his life would change, James said, “It will definitely change drastically… I think it’ll allow me and my wife to have the wedding we always wanted.”
According to James, his stepdad adopted him, so, the name ‘Cato Cade’ came from him trying to keep a piece of his previous name.
“My original name was Mark Allen Carpenter and my mom always called me Macky, so growing up I really didn’t stay connected to my actual name, so I kept Macky and then I wanted to keep the initials Mack like M.A.C,” James said. “So, I couldn’t decide between two ‘C’ names, so I chose them both, Cato and Cade.”
This has always been a running joke throughout his entire life. According to James, while deployed, the clubs were open all the time, like those in New Orleans, and there was not a whole lot to do.
“So, you’d go eight o’clock, you’d dance all night until about six in the morning, and then you’d sleep half the day and do it all over again,” James said. “So, I learned some dancing from there, but where it really picked up kind of surprised me. Because I got deployed to Iraq, and we had weird intervals of times where we were just on base, but we still had lite duties, but we didn’t have to do a whole lot.”
James was in the third reconnaissance battalion group, out of three platoons total, who would go out 30 to 45 days at a time performing different missions. James started to explore during his time on base and was surprised by the different activities provided for soldiers.
“One of those activities that I really latched to was dancing. They were teaching salsa dancing classes, Latin dances, so I learned a whole lot of dances there and were surrounded by like-minded individuals who also wanted to learn dance and they also had different backgrounds, lifestyles, so whatever dances they had I tried to learn,” James said. “Whether it was popular dances at the time, which whenever I was in Iraq, social media and dancing online was not even a thing. When I came back, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and dancing, focusing on the specific movement that I was trying to learn or just kind of letting my body move to the music and how I think dance should synchronize to the music and different songs is like a huge distraction. It’s kind of therapeutic for my head.”
James also does Jujitsu, which he said is also very therapeutic.
“But dancing has become a very big part of my life for that purpose,” James said. “Because it’s almost like a meditation for me because you can’t think of anything else while you’re trying to do something like that.”
“Shoutout to my kids, Gabriel and Isabella, I love you,” James said. “I can’t wait for everybody to see the dancing, and I’m going to continue dancing.”
NBC scheduled ‘Dancing With Myself’ to air Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at 9 p.m. on NBC.