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Family’s ‘quality time’ leads to win on ‘Disney Fam Jam’

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Raymond and Leisa Lee always thought their children would be involved in team sports — but Raymond Jr., 13, and Isabella (Izzy), 11, both students at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Vienna — turned out to have a passion for dance instead.  

So, both kids joined competitive dance teams at Adrenaline Studios in Tysons Corner, where they’ve participated for the past six years. And soon the parents found themselves following in their children’s footsteps. 

“My wife and I got tired of waiting in the car, so we started taking hip hop classes while they were in practice," said Raymond Sr., 49, a corporate attorney. 

Since they all loved to dance, it became a way of bonding as a family. 

“Our parents were pretty old school,” says, Leisa, 45, a human resources professional.  “We always felt loved, but they didn’t really DO things with us. I’m not being critical at all because that was parenting in that era. We just knew we wanted to parent differently.”

The Lees started learning and filming short dance routines and posting them on social media. “Of course, we could dance without filming videos,” says Raymond Sr., “but we found it gave us mini goals to keep us motivated and we enjoyed motivating others to find ways to spend time together as a family.” 

Then a casting agent for the Disney Channel saw their videos and asked them to try out for a new family TV show, “Disney Fam Jam.” Each episode would feature two families in a dance competition. After months of auditions on Skype, background checks and interviews, the family spent four days in Hollywood, competed in front of a live studio audience — and won. The premiere aired Feb. 23 on the Disney Channel.

The Lees attribute their success not just to their dedication, energy and cool silver alien costumes, but to a supportive network of family, friends and the community at Our Lady of Good Counsel, staffed by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. “There's a quote posted in our school from St. Francis de Sales that says, ‘Be who you are and be that well,’” said Raymond Jr. 

 “All four of us are incredibly grateful for the Catholic education the kids have received from OLGC and the support from all of the families there,” said Raymond Sr. He and Leisa were married at the parish in 2004 and the kids have attended the school there since kindergarten.

“I was really nervous about going, but our principal and all of our teachers were really encouraging,” said Izzy. 

The kids’ grandmothers lent support as well. “My mom and Leisa’s mom flew out to Hollywood for the taping and saw us perform,” said Raymond Sr. “They both cried the whole time.” 

Leisa said the show “was about way more than just a dance competition. It really casts a positive light on spending quality time with your family, overcoming obstacles and just celebrating the joy in one another.”

Miller can be reached at Leslie.Miller@catholicherald.com

Watch the performance

See the Lee family dance to a song by the Black Eyed Peas on the premiere of “Disney Fam Jam” on www.youtube.com/disneychannel



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020