Body. Freakin'. Rock. Y'all. The world is filled with many overrated things, but once in a while, you find something that's worth all the hype and more. Proving once again to be "The Super Bowl of Dance Competitions," Body Rock DELIVERED this year. From jaw-dropping sets to heartfelt moments, the entire production left both performers and audience members speechless. (And undoubtedly, all you day-after video watchers at home, as well!)
What made Body Rock 2015 particularly distinctive, was the fact that EVERY SINGLE TEAM in the line up brought something innovative to the stage. While it's not new for teams to create their best work for the biggest competition, this year, each of them went EXTRA in being extra. As fashion goes through trends, artistry also evolves- and we witnessed definite artistic shifts within the performances this year. We always strive to grow and reinvent ourselves as dancers and teams, but these these changes must involve a balance of knowing what's current while staying true to your original artistic vision. The placing teams' directors (and a few honorable mentions) tell us about their respective #Road(s)ToBodyRock2015 and the motives behind their moves.
3RD PLACE:ACADEMY OF BROTHERS (AUSTRALIA)
What do they FEED the men in Australia?! These guys ROCKED the audience's bodies with their powerful set.
And that closer? Boom. Pregnant.
2ND PLACE:PRAISETEAM (CANADA)
Beautiful as always, PraiseTEAM's message was clear and resonating: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.”
Missy Reyes, PraiseTEAM's director, tells us more about the medley's creation:
During life's twists and turns, the best thing to do is to welcome the storm because through it, we become what we need to be and we are where we need to be. This dance is about HOPE that better days are always around the corner, FAITH that even amongst all struggles, God is always there leading us through it and when it rains in our lives, we must (though it's not easy) choose HAPPINESS.This routine in particular is inspired by our city, Surrey/Vancouver, where it tends to rain quite a bit, and we felt it would be fun to share our experiences on our first time at BodyRock. We also wanted our shirts and umbrellas to look wet so during rehearsals we were also bleaching our denim shirts and adding glitter to the umbrellas when people had free time. It was very much a big team effort.
PraiseTEAM has such a unique style and mission. When asked if they ever find themselves trying to balance between what is crowd-pleasing and what stays true to their vision, this was their response:
Yes, all the time! It is easy to fall into what is hype in the dance community and it is always a big question to us how the audience will receive our pieces but we have to stick to what will express our message best. We do a lot of editing and sacrificing certain parts in the routine so that we can better tell the story.
In all, they want to give shout outs to Anna, J, and "to our family and friends who gave us non stop love and support on this journey. Finally, we are so thankful to God for showering us with surprises and blessings."
1ST PLACE:BROTHERHOOD (CANADA)
BROTHERHOOD. NEED I SAY MORE? When speaking with Scott Forsyth, Brotherhood's director, he tells us that the theme for this set was inspired by the Green Army Men from their favourite childhood movie: Toy Story!
Being together for 5 years, we've got a ton of chemistry which definitely helps when making a set. To be honest, a lot of our creative concepts evolve from us just joking around and throwing out silly ideas, which we try out and eventually keep. At the end of the day, we create what we love doing. Whether or not people like it is kind of out of our control, so we just try to stay true to who we are and have fun.
Well, staying true to yourselves has proven to be a great idea. It was so refreshing to see Brotherhood kill it in their way and be recognized for it.
And a few last shout outs from Scott and Brotherhood:
Growing up, we looked up to all these teams competing at Body Rock, so we're just honoured to be sharing the same stage as them. Being Brotherhood's first time at Body rock, we had no idea what to expect and we're SO grateful for the love and support people have thrown our way. This community has been so welcoming to us Canadians, we just want to say THANK YOU... Eh?
No, thank YOU brothers for sharing with us, and CONGRATULATIONS once again!!!
The placing teams were obviously, amazing and inspiring, but I got to speak to a few other teams that also made Body Rock unforgettable:
TEAM HIGHLIGHT:AURAGENE (KOREA)
Ricka Heo [[interviewed before the show]] speaks of her team's culture and about performing at Body Rock:
It's like there is another world inside the world of dancers. I think Korean dance culture is now developing a lot through competitions and sharing.As there was a K-POP boom from some places around the world, many of the choreographers from California also got to participate in choreographing for K-POP artists and started visiting Korea. So Korean dancers got to know about American choreographers and started looking them up on Youtube. Following this, workshops featuring American choreographers were held in Korea and our interactions became more frequent. Through these events, Korean 'choreography scene' started getting as big as the 'street dance scene', so Korean and Californian dance scenes became connected closely.
Korea was famous for B-boying and street dance, while the choreography scene was not popular. Last year, the first Korean team competed at Body Rock. Currently, I am running KOMA Creative in Korea, and I am a member of Jam republic in Asia. Jam republic is where 18 different directors from Asia and Australia got together to provide events for dancers and communication between the dance scenes. I envision a global community through sharing, not a community that is closed off by a country's borders.
Last year, Auragene performed for the first time in Body Rock. When we were done, the audience gave us a standing ovation. My heart was about to explode. I'm looking forward to watching other teams' performances. Last year was my first time to see the show for myself. It is way different from the videos...
TEAM HIGHLIGHT:KING OF SWAG (JAPAN)
Talk about CHARACTER! This colorful crew was the highlight(er) of my day. I got to speak with them briefly as they were on deck, and although the language barrier didn't allow for much conversation, they had me laughing and dancing with them. Not surprising to see that their performance was just as charismatic.
~~~~DROP THAT KITTY DOWN LOW~~~~
TEAM HIGHLIGHT:CHOREO COOKIES (SAN DIEGO)
Creating buzz throughout the entire road to Body Rock, there as much anticipation for this performance. Before their music started, the audience was shaking with anticipation. Keone, Mari, and Tracy's last show? Members holding and praying with each other? I don't know about you, but my eyes were sweating profusely.
Then when they started, all we could do was stare in awe. The gravity of it all...
TEAM HIGHLIGHT: THE JABBAWOCKEEZ
Surpriiiiise! The JabbaWockeeZ came back home to San Diego to share with us not only their playful and entertaining performance, but also to deliver a powerful, uplifting message to young dancers. They are proof that genuine passion and dedication to your craft can take you places you'd never dreamed possible. From their success on America's Best Dance Crew to their acclaimed show in Vegas, these guys are a true inspiration to dancers everywhere.
In all, Body Rock's performances proved that the artists in our community are continually pushing the artistic envelope, no matter their location. From cleverly utilizing the screen, to building custom sets, to showcasing impeccable execution of choreography, the show left everyone inspired and anxious to see where our next chapter takes us.
Further, I think the night was a great way for our community to mingle and share with each other. Dancers who don't usually get to visit SoCal that often have been hitting up Disneyland, staying at fellow dancers' houses, and even teaching workshops at our local studios! Body Rock was, is, and will always be about the community. It serves us beyond the competition itself, and the evidence is everywhere.
A huge thank you from Steezy, to Body Rock and all its staff, participants, and audience, for feeding our hungry and growing community.
What were some of your favorite performances at Body Rock this year? Share them with us by commenting below!
Body Rock is a great reminder of how rapidly and powerfully our community is expanding. Read up on our history, and the evolution and future of our global dance community for a little more thinkin' juice!