Three years ago, two young men from Aiken decided to take the praise dancing they performed at their church to the next level.
Their stage name evolved from the Dance Warriors to the Gospel Warriors, their wardrobe got a redesign, and their faces got a coat of white paint and black lipstick.
Kadarius Thomas, 15, and Quinton Taylor, 18, adopted a miming style that emphasizes sharp movements and crisp facial expressions, but is always centered on God.
They are members of Second Baptist Church and perform mostly on the weekends, during or after church services or at special events.
The Aiken High School students try to rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday, usually after a day at school or three hours of football practice.
"It's hard sometimes, but we just have to swallow our pride and do what you have to do," Kadarius said.
Mr. Taylor is the adopted son of Patricia Thomas, and Kadarius is her grandson, but the teens treat each other like brothers, complete with inside jokes and playful bickering.
"We have our moments, but it passes and all is good after that," Mr. Taylor said.
They have to memorize the words to various gospel songs so they know when and how to move according to the lyrics. With little or no practice, either performer can break into the dance moves of about 100 songs they have learned.
With hard work comes the reward. They have performed across the Augusta area and the Southeast.
"They're much more popular than I ever thought they would be," Ms. Thomas said.
Kadarius said: "I want to take this worldwide. I like being in front of the cameras and people. I'm an entertainer. I love it."