If you had a
chance to watch producer/musician and American Idol co-host Randy Jacksons new
show Americas Best Dance Crew, then
you know about the Jabbawockeez. Although their presence was huge, the six-man
team we saw on the show is only a part of the whole crew, and their win was
only icing on the cake of their already flourishing career.
All West Coast
natives, the racially diverse crew uses masks to hide their faces as they
dance. While it may seem a little impersonal at first glance, their vision to
create unified movement comes together easily and emotionally.
We spoke with
Kevin Brewer and Rynan Paguio of Jabbawockeez about the essentials of Bboying
and Hip-Hop dance in todays scene and the bitter-sweet celebration of winning
the first season of Americas Best Dance
Crew after one of their members tragically passed away.
Tell us a little bit about how the crew came together.
We’re from all over the West Coast. California to be specific – some of us are
from Sacramento, some of us are from San Diego, some of us are from Los
Angeles, and then we have one guy from Las Vegas and one guy from Arizona. At
one point in time we were all together, so to speak. We were free to travel at
that time and we had a mutual a friend who had traveled in a lot of different
circles, his name is Gary Kendell. He introduced us together, the north and the
south and then we just kind of got that together.
Gary is your friend that passed away [in December 2007]. How impactful was it
for you guys winning [America’s Best
Dance Crew] without him there?
In a sense yeah, it’s kind of sad with him not being there with us when we won
the show, but personally I feel like he was there with us. We all feel like he
was the primary force for us, in helping us get through the show even though
physically he wasn’t there.
Were you guys really prepared [to learn] new routines every week?
We were prepared for whatever they had to give us, and at the same time we were
like, We’re gonna do the best we can with what they throw at us, and if it
comes through great and if not then at least we tried as hard as we could.
Luckily it went into our favor.
You guys are used to performing in front of large audiences, but how different
was it performing in front of a large audience every week on television? Was it
Not really, we had been doing shows. The live audience wasn’t as big as the
shows we had been rocking so far so it was kind of like business as usual. There
was an element of nervousness where we wanted to make sure all of our steps
were right and the little pre-show jitters or whatever. But when we got into
it, it was our element and we just rocked it every week.
Jabbawockeez Live Audition performance on America’s Best Dance Crew
How was it for you guys to be able to pull out your own style of street dance
and bring something new to people [who] dont really know about JabbaWockeez?
That in itself is a blessing because we are dancers, but I think ultimately we
are artists, because we really look deeply into what we do with our skills and
how we do what we do. This is not just something that’s a cool little hobby for
us, we really pay attention to the details of what’s going on behind the dance.
We study ourselves and the dance and the movement, we’re so involved in it that
it’s pretty much our life, our passion and we truly understand what passion
Just like an
artist who’s a visionary about things, he puts these images up on a canvas and
isn’t really worried about what people are going to think either way, positive
or negative. They’re just doing it because that’s what’s inside of them and
they need to get it out. It just so happens that it’s a gift from God, and he
wants the world to know that he is able to move through artists and share that
beauty. When people look at it they recognize that it’s something unique and
our stand is on what we do, it’s a wonderful thing that Hip-Hop is the way of
life and the genre of a style that we were blessed to know growing up. I think
that God definitely did his thing through us as far as pushing that out that
there. It’s the dopest feeling when we get the O.G’s and the people who started
this whole movement giving us love for what we’re doing, because we look back
to the past as far as for a foundation. We’ve ingested it and we’re able to put
something else out which is pushing forward into the future.
feel God’s presence, and we feel our boy’s presence because he was a pioneer
for that – innovating Hip-Hop and bringing something new to the table – and he
definitely sparked something within all of us, so that’s where we’re at with
For years there’s been a tenseness between the “real” Bboys and the
Hip-Hop dancers who aren’t necessarily Bboys. You guys bring elements of true Bboying
to your dance. How has it been for you in that scene? You said some of the vets
give you props, but do you guys battle? How do you interact with that
Rynan Paguio: Well
here’s the thing, even before we did this kind of show a lot of us were in that
element altogether. I know that me and Chris [Gatdula] that are in the crew,
even other members of the crew would always do Bboy events go to Hip-Hop
functions. That was the first scene that we were representing before we even
were doing this type of a show.
The main thing
I can say with our crew is we try to focus on learning the history. The main
focus of Jabbawockeez and any other Hip-Hop dance crew is learning the
foundation of each style of dance. Whether it’s Hip-Hop, popping, locking,
breaking, through the universal movement of Hip-Hop, you want to be able to
evolve something within that traditional foundation, but making your own after
it’s good to hear the pioneers and people like that give us respect for what we
do just because those are the people that we learned from. We just wanna always
keep repping it right, and always representing the evolution of Hip-Hop and
making sure that it doesnt turn into something else away from the foundation
of Hip-Hop, but so that it turns into something more beautiful.
Now that we know the show has been renewed, what advice would you give to any
crews coming aboard [for the next season]?
The first thing that everyone has to do when you do this type of a show is just
be humble to it, because it’s always gonna be a learning experience and
sometimes you’re gonna hear things that you dont necessarily like. A lot of the
challenges, you’re like, “What kind of challenge is that? Why do we have
to do these kinds of moves that we do?” But you gotta humble yourself to
that, take it in and make it your own, because then at that same time we’re
also evolving what we do as Hip-Hop heads because it makes us not be so
It speaks for
itself for people to know that Hip-Hop is universal and that it covers all
boundaries through dance, music, lyrics and life – just for that to be humble
to it. Also for that just to have fun, stay a student while you’re in the show,
especially when you’re with your crew. I guess it helps you to be more patient
with your crew. It kind of helps you to create in the show, rather than not
being a student where you’re always gonna wind up arguing with each other. You
wanna be able to create and get better as the show goes along.
What’s next for Jabbawockeez?
What’s next is really trying to get our business all together. We’ve got so
many different offers, some cool stuff is popping up for us. So we want to
focus on that as well as continue to work on our craft and inspire all of the
kids and everybody that’s out there. I know we have some tours lined up and all
want to have a stage show and a production where we can integrate a whole lot
of music and movement, just the different things that we’re in to, and create a
unique experience for the viewers.
Learn more about Jabbawockeez at Jabbawockeez.com