Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Step Up! A Night of Pin@y Dancers in Hollywood

"We keep it street, yo"

On Monday, July 14th I had the pleasure of attending the Step Up 2: The Streets DVD release party at the Avalon in Hollywood. I haven't seen the movie yet (I heard it was good...I guess that includes the compulsory lily protagonists and all), but for sure the party was off the chain.

If you're a fan of the reality TV dance shows, like America's Best Dance Crew, then you should be hellllla jealous. The party featured some of the top/most popular dance crews from these shows, and of course, mad Pin@ys were in the house. (In addition, the Living Legends crew was in the house. An exclusive party indeed.)

As soon as I walked into the venue, I hunted down the homey DJ Icy Ice who hooked it up with a backstage pass. He pulled me backstage in order to meet some of the dancers because he knew I was doing recruiting for the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture. I thought I'd meet maybe one or two dancers, but yo, its like I met the whole village. The first folks I met were Team Millenia. Nice folks. All dope dancers on their own.

During the "battles" and performances, the dancers brought their own unique flavors. However, since Step Up is a Disney production, there were some elements of the night that left you like "que?"

Here is the Disney part:

We all know how battles work: someone from one crew burns the floor, after which a member from the opposing crew follows. Simple enough. Or, as has become popular, a crew does acrobatic choreography together, like someone flipping over a crouching crewmember or a brutha wrapping they thighs around another brutha’s hips and spinning, weird shit like that.

Well, the event’s idea of a battle was ALL members of the crews had to be movin to the pre-requested music that Ice spun. Not one person from one crew, then the other—no. They wanted it real “The Debut,” “Save the Last Dance” synchronized and spontaneous-lookin style. Kinda fresh, right? Right...

Culture Shock LA at Global Dance Showcase

It kinda worked for the first crew battle between Fysh N Chicks and World Famous (ill mostly Pinay bgirls from San Diego), because I think they both rehearsed a full set, or at least had in mind what they wanted to do. But for the battles between Kaba Modern vs. Team Millenia (an epic battle, I would think, but it wasn't really) and Culture Shock vs. Quest the ALL member choreography dance format didn’t work. Maybe because these folks are used to “real” bboy/girl battles, and not all that funky choreographed mess. (Or, maybe some members just didn't know how to battle.)

But for the most of the night, folks vibed on the dance floor. As I scoped the scene, I gave daps to Kid Rainen from JabbaWockeez, grooved with the World Famous sistas, and ciphered with Culture Shock folk.

It seems strange though, doesn’t it?

I mean, this shit ain’t new. Our folk been rockin this choreographed dance scene for close to two decades. The brutha Arnel (here he is doing the Iron Horse and locking) knows! He founded Kaba Modern in the early 1990s, and today is Kaba Modern a cultural institution in Southern CA.

What I’m curious about
is all the attention and money been given to it—open bar at the Avalon, Hollywood execs, Disney movie and all. Backstage, I asked Arnel: "Who would have thought?" We both smiled and chuckled.

Congrats
to these talented Pin@y bruthas and sistas for making a very noticeable and public impression. Keep pushin the art forward, and while your at it, go head rake that dolo.

1 comment:

chris said...

damn broham. im jealous. you lucky duck you!