15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
Talk about art imitating life: Justin Kenney, aka Ninny the rogue, is a high-agility kind of guy. Those droplets on your screen are back spray from the splash Justin's been making in the dance world, after coming back from a nasty automobile accident this fall. Recovery stunlocked him long enough that he became determined to dive more deeply than ever into his dancing. His no-holds-barred followup has carried him through a trip into the So You Think You Can Dance semi-finals (video after the break), an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (see his clip, above), and a virtual Fan of Knives of opportunities. Find out why you'll be seeing much more of Justin on both the big and little screens as well as more of Ninny in your Arenas, after the break.
Main character Ninny
Guild Argus Imperious
Server Zangarmarsh (Alliance)
WoWstyle WoW player since pre-Burning Crusade (about four years); "big-time PvPer"; games a little outside of WoW
15 Minutes of Fame: Give us a snapshot, Justin, of where your dancing has taken you in the past couple of months.
Justin Kenney: I have been dancing for about seven years now, and it's become more of a lifestyle than a hobby for me. It always affected my life, and I always gave up a little too much to keep up with it and pursue it. I never thought about trying to bring it to an industry level as a career, but at a family event my brother talked to me about it a bit and about a week later I found myself on a road trip to SYTYCD tryouts in Atlanta.
I did not make it through my first audition, but I did learn about the audition process and what I did need to do to make it. I auditioned again in my home town, New Orleans, about three weeks later and made it through to Vegas! I then had a full month to train for my Vegas round. I did all I could in New Orleans to prepare for Vegas for that next month, including completely stopping playing WoW. It paid off a bit -- I made it through one out of three of the days in Vegas and meet some absolutely amazing people.
Since then, it seems that you've been a very busy dancing rogue ...
After SYTYCD, a lot of doors opened for me -- not just after it aired, but after I was in Vegas and was just so motivated to keep pushing in that same direction. I have done an appearance on a Disney show called Imagination Movers. I started performing for the NBA team out of New Orleans, The Hornets. I did an upcoming movie called Video Girl, and just after the show aired, I got a call asking me if I would like to be a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres show! Now I am looking to move to Atlanta and start dancing with an agency full time.
We understand you had a pretty severe car accident not too long ago. What happened?
One year ago almost to the day, I was on the way to a hip-hop show in southern Georgia to perform with some buddies of mine. I was sitting in the front seat of an SUV, asleep, when one of the tires blew out. I woke to see the SUV fishtailing, and then the last thing I remembered was feeling the SUV start to flip. Turns out the SUV flipped about four times, ejecting two of my fellow riders and injuring us all pretty severely.
Sounds scary! You've obviously made a strong comeback. What was recovery like?
I was very uncomfortably rushed to the hospital, where I learned I had pretty severe head trauma and a banged-up shoulder. I got patched up and stitched up, to hear the doctor tell me I wouldn't be dancing for quite some time ... Over the next few hours, I decided to head back to Louisiana to be with my family while I started my recovery. I stayed there through the week of Thanksgiving and just couldn't lay around anymore. I decided to head back to Atlanta, where I could at least play WoW!
A couple days after returning to Atlanta, I found out about an upcoming competition and decided to go support and see everyone. Well, just as I expected, I also ended up deciding to dance while I was in the mix of all the music and dancing. From then on, I just found ways around my injury and did my best to forget I had even gotten in an accident. My recovery did pay a toll on my versatility on the floor, but it also opened doors for my through getting in other styles less oriented around me being upside down, which I feel a little more attracted to now then b-boying.
And so what's happened to your WoW habit during all of this crashing and dancing and performing?
Before the crash, I was on just enough to raid with my guild Argus Imperious and do arenas with a fellow lock buddy of mine. After the crash during my immediate recovery, I was on a lot more. I wasn't allowed to return to work for a while, so I had all my time to dance and play WoW.
When SYTYCD came up, I stopped playing completely for about three months and put all of my time into work and training. I just recently find myself having time again to play here and there. When I move back to Atlanta and start in the industry full time, I will have a lot more time to socialize on WoW again, which I am looking forward to greatly.
What's next on the agenda for Ninny?
For Ninny, I plan on getting ready for season 8 Arenas. I have two amazing 3v3 partners who have been waiting for me to come back and get rolling again. I haven't done any Arena since early season 6 ...
And what about you? What's next for Justin?
For Justin, I plan on moving back to Atlanta and finally making that full switch from a normal restaurant job to being a full-time dancer. There is a dance agency based out of Atlanta which I am currently in the process of signing with. When all goes well, I hope to be dancing and traveling as a full-time job and PvPing and raiding on Ninny again on a regular schedule!
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" - neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a rising pop singer ... from a quadriplegic player to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and group raiding in person every week ... Catch it all on 15 Minutes of Fame.