Getting into Step: The Season Five ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ Auditions in NYC (UPDATE)

It seemed like yesterday that MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC) crowned its first all-female crew champions, We Are Heroes.  So, it may be a bit of a shock to you (or at least to me anyway) that they were back on the road looking for top notch crews for season 5 which is slated to begin Thursday, January 28 at 10 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific)

The Ride caught up with ABDC during the New York City auditions. The callbacks to be exact. Present were regular series judges, Shane Sparks and Lil Mama. Also on board for the occasion was Kevin Brewer, member of the season one winning crew, Jabbawockeez.  The Ride talked to Shane about what it takes to be a top-notch crew and Kevin about his post-ABDC experiences and how it feels to be an opening act.

Shane Sparks (photo: Carla Ray Thompson)

SHANE SPARKS – So, the real question is what makes a successful crew?: “These crews need to be together for at least a year or two. I love it when they have a lot of chemistry based on the fact that they’ve been together long enough to get to know each other and they that they have different styles.  You should never have a crew that’s only breakers, that’s only poppers, that’s only lyrical dancers. I think now crews should be made up of all these styles. That way when you get on a show like ours, you can be very versatile and you can be ready for anything that we throw at you. We have a lot challenges that you might need some lyrical, you might need some hip hop, you might need need some quick step. You never know… It’s kind of dope to have somebody in your crew that specializes in different things, that way you can handle that section.

ABDC Season 5 NYC Auditions (Callbacks) - E3 (photo: Carla Ray Thompson)

When asked about how crews should create their own style, Shane had this to say:  “It goes back to them finding out what their crew is good at and finding out what they specialize in and take moves from each one of them and combine them together. That’s how you make crews different. If you take a little bit from there, a little bit from here and you put them together, you get a different taste. But if you keep putting the same things together, you get apple pie every time. So you add, a little this, a little that, that makes your choreography hot. And then look at stuff you see out there that’s really hot and flip it. There’s nothing wrong with looking at things you see from the past — old Broadway shows, old concerts, MC Hammer stuff…See what was hot back in 80s and say, ‘Let me flip that style a little bit. Let me get this dance and change it up a little bit and update it.’  That makes your choreography hot. That’s what  makes your group hot. And it separates your crew from everybody else. So many people, they just take and take and take and after you see so many crews, they all look the same. Then you have that one where somebody in there says, ‘No let’s flip it. Let’s do things backwards this time.’ All of sudden, they blow you mind.”

Kevin Brewer of Jabbawockeez, Lil Mama and Shane Sparks (photo: Carla Ray Thompson)

KEVIN BREWER –  What the ride has been like since the win?: “It is definitely an unusual thing. I’m not used it… Having people running and screaming and wanting to get autographs is very weird. It’s cool. Very humbling. Initially, it’s like wow. It’s kind of crazy but we kind of got a little used to it…It’s just cool to see the inspiration on people’s faces when they talk to us or when we see them. It’s inspiring us to keep pushing forward and doing what we do ’cause we are ultimately doing it for them.”

What’s it like being an opening act for New Kids on the Block?: “We had come from a circuit where it was dance showcases, so we kind of looked at it from that perspective. In a dance showcase, you’re just a dance crew. People come sit down and they just watch different dance acts. So being an opening act, we kind of didn’t really look at it that way. It’s just business as usual. But the difference is the amount of people, the amount of eyes, we have on us. Being on tour with the New Kids, it really did help sharpen our performance…We are trying to put the dancing [out in] front.”

What’s next for Jabbawockeez?:  “Currently, we are enjoying the holidays but once 2010 hits, it’s back to grinding. We got a couple of performances in January, I believe and there are prospects of going international for a while. All that stuff is in the works. I think 2010 will be a good year for us because it’s a blessing that we haven’t gone backwards so far…we have been moving forward. Hopefully, [we’ll]  keep the wind in our sails and keep going forward.

The Kick Rocks dance crew (photo: Carla Ray Thompson)

Will ABDC hopefuls Kick Rocks make the cut?  Tune in on January 28 to see.

Note: I’d be remiss not to at least mention Shane Sparks arrest on child molestation charges. The arrest took place approximately one week after the New York City auditions. Now free on bail, it has not be determined whether he will continue to be affiliated with ABDC.  For more details, click here.

UPDATE: It was announced today (1/21) that Shane will be replaced as judge. Omarion will join Lil Mama and JC Chasez at the judges table when the season begins on Thursday, January 28 at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.


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