Vote Now for ABDC Season winner!! abdcvote.mtv.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Highlights from the NY ABDC auditions: NIA

Over the next several weeks, I'll post videos of my personal favorite crews from the America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 Auditions in New York. For some of these NY crews, I will post both their auditions and their choreography callback performances, but only when I like the callback performances as much as the initial audition. Important warning and disclaimer: I am NOT a judge and have absolutely NO impact on the judges or MTV. My only qualification is being a huge fan of the show.

Today's featured crew: NIA from Roxbury, MA. They incorporate African influences into their style in a fresh way that fits with hip hop and is not at all gimmicky. I love their overall performances and their energy. The first part seconds of their routine didn't tape due to camera problems, and was also really dynamic and fun to watch. To learn more about NIA, you can visit their Myspace account. UPDATE: Here's a link to the Semitoastysushi video of their audition, which contains the full audition routine.


The Action outside the NY ABDC auditions

Some of the dance crews auditioning for America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 in New York held a tumbling contest on the streets, while they waited for their turn before the judges. PeaceSignDawg caught the action that MTV (and I) missed, and posted it on Youtube.
In a message to me, PeaceSignDawg wrote: "Here, we have Trix and Primetime of Round One taking part in a flipping outbreak with other auditioning groups while outside waiting for the choreography segment of the day. This was Round One's third time auditioning; they're really showing their determination to make it."


Friday, June 19, 2009

Video -- Quest Practice Regimen

Here's an older video of Quest working together, filmed shortly after the crew won America's Best Dance Crew Season 3. In it, they discuss their method of practicing steps and routines, and show some skills. Thanks to QuestStreetteam.com for finding it and Alex for calling it to my attention.


ABDC Season 4 audition highlights: Massive Monkees

Over the next several weeks, I'll post videos of some of my personal favorite crews from the America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 auditions in New York. For some (but not all) of these crews, I will post both their auditions and their choreography callback performances (based on how much I liked their callbacks too!). Important warning and disclaimer: I am NOT a judge and have absolutely NO impact on the ABDC judges or MTV. My only qualification is being a huge fan of the show.

Today's featured crew: Massive Monkees from Seattle, Washington. They were unable to attend the LA auditions, so they flew to New York just to try out for America's Best Dance Crew Season 4. The group that audition is part of a larger group that formed in the mid-90s and has won multiple national and international b-boy competitions. Read more about them on Wikipedia and at their official website. I loved their original and audacious moves. I think you will too.

Favorite Crews from NY Season 3 Auditions -- Massive Monkees



Over the next several weeks, I'll post videos of my personal favorite crews from the America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 Auditions in New York. For these NY crews, I will post both their auditions and their choreography callback performances. Important warning and disclaimer: I am NOT a judge and have absolutely NO impact on the judges or MTV. My only qualification is being a huge fan of the show.

Today's featured crew: Massive Monkees from Seattle, Washington. They were too busy to attend the LA auditions, so they flew to NY just to try out for Season 4. The crew that auditioned in NY is part of a larger group that formed in the mid-90s and has won multiple national and international b-boy competitions. Read more about them on Wikipedia and at their official website. I loved this crew for their original and audacious moves; I think you will too.


Upcoming Events - Week of June 19

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Body Rock - Common Ground

Body Rock 2009's competition crews were top notch. We've already posted the winning performances from Choreo Cookies, The Company, and Kaba Modern. Interestingly, the dance we heard the MOST about in our mailbox and on-line reading is a lyrical performance by Common Ground. Here's the performance, filmed by iLLmIND:

NY Auditions - Media coverage

Several website reporters attended the New York auditions for America's Best Dance Crew Season 4. Some reports:
  • Asiance Magazine gives a teaser mentioning Bollywood Funk and MIT's Ridonkulous
  • The Ride runs a longer piece about her impressions of the day, with quotes from ABDC Executive Producer Howard Schwartz and choreographer/audition judge Napoleon D'umo, and photos of some 'colorful' crews including Vogue Evolution (pictured here) and NIA.
Photocredit: C. Thompson

From LA Auditions - Beast Mode

Albert Lawrence of Talk of Fame attended the Los Angeles Auditions and posts a video of Beast Mode. According to the article, "their facial expressions and synced up choreography conveyed a gritty confidence that commanded everybody in the studio to sit up straight and take in their technique!" Click here to watch an interview with the crew by Pacific Rim Video and click here for an earlier performance video from the crew.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Audition Choreography Callbacks : an outstanding tool for picking ABDC Crews

America's Best Dance Crew incorporated choreography callbacks in the Season 4 audition process. The practice had been used in the Season 1 auditions, but dropped for Seasons 2 and 3. According to audition judges Napoleon D'umo and Michelle McNulty, the callbacks were reintroduced for several reasons:
  • they allow MTV to see how crews respond to conditions similar to the ones in the actual show, where dancers must quickly learn steps from the ABDC choreographers, as well as creating and modifying their own dance routines under intense time pressure
  • they show how crews can respond to 'challenges' while maintaining their distinctive styles and competencies
  • they give crews a chance to correct problems cited by judges during their initial auditions (e.g., appearing too similar to prior ABDC competitors, not performing to the audience)
  • the free-style section in the callbacks gives crews a chance to show other skills that aren't included in their 1-2 minute audition routines
How it worked: after each crew auditioned, they were told whether they would be asked to return later that day for the choreography callbacks. The invited crews returned en masse after all the initial auditions were completed. In NY, that translated to over 125 dancers assembled in the audition room. Then, Napoleon D'umo spent about 10 minutes teaching them a short and simple routine (aided in NY by some of the Boogie Bots). The same steps were taught in all 4 auditions. This video shows some highlights from the NY lesson:

After the lesson, crews were given one hour to put together a 1-3 minute routine. The first part of the dance had to incorporate D'umo's choreography, but adapted to the crew's own style. In the second part of the routine, every member of the crew had to free-style with a commando transition between dancers. After the hour, the judges brought back 5-8 crews at a time to the audition room. In those groups, each crew performed for each other and for the judges.

It felt like a really joyous dance-off, with incredibly high energy for groups that had worked hard over a very long day. The callbacks were also successful in providing judges with all the added information they sought. Napoleon told me, "When we did this in LA last week, at first I was wondering why we would go to all this trouble. Then I watched them perform and said to myself, 'THAT'S WHY!"

Judge for yourself. Here are two crews with 'classical' hip hop choreography (not tap dancing or other styles). They are R2D2 (a Boston crew led by Jamal from ABDC Season 1's Status Quo) and E3 (a Connecticut crew with a 'boy band' vibe). They both nailed the choreography section, and held true to their distinctive styles.

Video - Quest workshop at Marvelous Motion Studio

Quest taught a workshop at the Marvelous Motion Dance Studio in Houston on June 14. THEMarvelousMotionTV Youtube Channel taped the day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Videos - World of Dance NY winners - Studio One, Project D, Rhythm City

World of Dance New York displayed the talents of over 30 different dance crews in competition or exhibition. First Prize went to Studio One from Orlando, Florida. Second place was Project D from New Jersey, and Rhythm City from Bronx, NY took third.

Judges for the America's Best Dance Crew auditions were in the audience, and urged many of the competitors to field smaller teams and attend the New York auditions the next day. Studio One couldn't audition because most of the members were underage; however, adults from the same studio auditioned in Orlando under a different name. Second place winner Project D came to try out the next day after being 'scouted' and personally invited by the judges. Both Project D and Rhythm City participated in the choreography callback round at the auditions.

Here's the winning performance from Studio One. Click here to watch the performances for Project D and Rhythm City.

Video: Boxcuttuhz at Body Rock 2009

Boxcuttuhz was one of the featured performers at Body Rock 2009 in San Diego on June 13, 2009. Here's their performance, courtesy of Taejun's Youtube channel.

ABDC nominated for Teen Choice Awards - vote now!

America's Best Dance Crew has three nominations for the 2009 Teen Choice Awards:
  • Best Reality Competition (competing against Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, America's Next Top Model, and the Bachelor
  • Best TV Personality - Lil Mama and Mario Lopez were both nominated (against Tyra Banks, Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell)
Click here to vote. If you're between 13-19, you can vote every day between now and the show, which will air on August 10, 2009.

BoogieZone University June 26-28: Get your Skills on with the best!

BoogieZone University is a massive 3-day Dance intensive to be held June 26-28 in Irvine, CA. It promises to have lessons for all level dancers, taught by 50 instructors in hip hop (old and new school) , contemporary, jazz funk, and salsa. Instructors include Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo (choreographers for America's Best Dance Crew and So You Think You can Dance;, Kaba Modern members Arnel Calvario, Mike Song, and Tony Tran; and Fanny Pak's Matt Cady. For all the details, visit boogiezone.com

Monday, June 15, 2009

Talk of Fame covers the LA auditions - first up is the A-team

Albert at Talk of Fame attended the Los Angeles auditions for America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 and is starting to share his videos. Like us, he'll be posting them periodically. Here's his video of A-Team from Las Vegas.

Quick report on the NY auditions

The New York auditions for America's Best Dance Crew Season 4 were intense! Crews performed from 11am until 11pm. The casting directors got what they wished for in quality and diversity, with 36 crews coming out to show their stuff. Casting judge Michelle McNulty called it the best NY audition that ABDC ever held.

We saw African-influence dancers, nationally ranked b-boy teams, Bollywood funk dancers, voguers, Beatyafeet-ers, ABDC alums, and MANY other types of hip hop choreography represented. And, after the regular auditions about half the crews were invites to participate in a choreography call-back which was one of the best dance events I've ever attended!
Through it all, judges Michelle McNulty, Napoleon D'umo, and Howard Schwartz were funny, engaging, and constructive.

I promise I'll describe this better in the next few days. Today I want to start plowing my weekend videos and photos including 31 videos from World of Dance New York (another intense event this past weekend!) and 57 videos from the auditions, to make more sense of it all and get things ready to share.

Body Rock 2009 videos

At Body Rock 2009 in San Diego, Choreo Cookies took first place, with The Company in 2nd and Kaba Modern in third place. Congratulations to all! Here's the Choreo Cookies performance, from Rizacia's Youtube channel.
Click here to see Body Rock performances from The Company and Kaba Modern.

Lil Mama Singing - "No One" and "Just Fine" (with Mary Blige)

America's Best Dance Crew judge Lil Mama was nominated as best female hip hop artist for the BET 2009 awards. Here's two videos that prove that she deserves the nomination. First, here's her rendition of "No One".

Click here for the video of her performing "Just Fine" with Mary Blige.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ringmasters dive off balcony at World of Dance!

World of Dance NY was an incredible night, with dozens of crew performances, people breaking dancing in the aisles, and meet-and-greets plus performances from America's Best Dance Crew alums Beat Freaks, Ringmasters, ICONic, and Boogie Bots. I'll have a full write-up soon, including videos of the competition winners and the ABDC crews. But I HAVE to share this video of Ringmasters from 8and9apparel. The whole routine is sick but pay particular attention around 8:08, where a crew member jumps off the balcony as part of the performance!

Mailbox: Layla Kayleigh news, Shane Sparks' SYTYCD Choreo

  • Layla Kayleigh won't be her svelte self during the tapings of America's Best Dance Crew Season 4. According to People Magazine, Layla's pregnant, with the baby due in November. Congratulations!
  • Shane Sparks choreographed the group number on this week's So You Think You Can Dance group number.

Coming Up in San Francisco: Sock Hop, featuring Kaba Modern

Funkanometry SF is hosting the Second Annual Sock Hop on July 18 in San Francisco. Featured acts will include Funkanometry SF, Kaba Modern, World Famous, Project EM, Fr3sh, De La Femme, The Odds, Funksters, BlackOut, Breed, PGN, Funk Beyond Control, and DeCadence. Here are the details and link for tickets.