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'America's Best Dance Crew': Afroborike and tonight's finale

September 27, 2009 |  3:24 pm


They were one of the last crews you thought would be in the finals of "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew," but Afroborike and their couples-dancing, Latin-flavored style has persevered and is now, along with We Are Heroes, awaiting America's vote a few hours from now. Who's going to win?  The popular vote is on We Are Heroes and their fire-spewing, backflipping, pop-locking finale. But Afroborike is resilient and has lots of support, so it might not be as clear cut as we think. Check back later on for commentary and video from the finale.

Luckily, we were able to have a quick talk with Afroborike member Veronica Collazo as the days closed in. 

How did your group form?
We were in a company in Vegas for a show for three years together, then the show fell apart (Raw talent life at the Sahara). We then had the opportunity to audition for the show and made the decision to bring our Latin flavor ... and they liked it and they picked us.

How did you come up with the name?
 Afroborike is a combination of two words. It's Afro-Cuban, because we have two cultures mixing.  We have 5 Puerto Ricans and one Cuban. Afro-Cubans and borike, which is the first name that the Indians used to call Puerto Rico. We wanted to mix all of that.

So if you weren't dancing, would you be trying to do something in Vegas?
Basically, we're heading to Vegas after the show, but we're not thinking about this.  We're concentrating on the show.

What was the toughest challenge for you this season?
I think the toughest was the trampoline challenge.  When you think of trampolines, you think of flips and all that kind of stuff.  It was pretty scary.  It was going to bring our lifts and style to a whole 'nother level.  Most thought that everybody was just going to flip, but it wasn't like that for us.  We tried to make it really original, but it was tough.  We had a hard time.

In terms of the judging and the time constraints and the challenges, was Afroborike able to let everyone see that Latin flavor?
Definitely. We've done our best with every challenge and we never left behind what we are and our style. I think we did perfectly well in that respect.

During the season, you had some injuries and such. What was the toughest point for you during the show?
Well, every single week we have to come with new tricks for new challenges, and the guys they get a little tired because they have to lift us [a lot]. Josue has a bad shoulder and Elisabeth twisted her ankle on the first week and has been [performing] the whole season like that. She's always hurt, but we don't have time for her to get rest. I think that we've handled it pretty well, but we're always worried because we don't want anyone hurt.

The snake. What were you guys thinking?!?
Yeah. The snake was pretty big and heavy. The thing about the snake is ... we wanted to make sure we brought something signature from Britney, so we quickly asked for that. We had maybe 15 minutes to learn how to handle the snake.

Yeah. Just to run, grab it and put it on slowly, and that's it. The good thing is that the snake was really really tame. You can touch his head and everything; it wasn't a wild snake, so we were pretty confident, but, you know, it's a snake. Anything can happen, [but] we didn't think, 'Maybe this snake can kill us!' 

That's tougher than learning a routine.
Yeah. We had to learn to grab it first from the body, then the head -- or maybe it was the body, the tail, then the head. Then they just said, 'OK, go for it!' And we did.

Who was the crew you looked at and thought, 'Oh, there's competition'?
Well, I think Heroes was the top 'cause they're really, really good at what they do. I think Rhythm City, too. But it was so different, every single crew was so different with such unique styles that it was hard to tell. But I think Rhythm City and We Are Heroes.

Had your crew ever been in a real dance competition against other crews?
No. This is the first time we've had to compete like this.

Did you ever get to see what the other crews were doing to prepare you?
No, you don't get to see them. You're concentrating and focused on what you're doing, but when you start looking at the other performances, you're like 'Oh, my goodness! That was so good!'

So how has this whole experience been for Afroborike?
 We have grown mentally, we know better how to work as a team, and we've made a bigger dance family. This is a competition, but we've made lots of friends. ... It's an experience that not everybody gets to live, and we're really grateful that we've gotten this opportunity. We're never going to forget it. It's hard, it's tough, and right now, we're really tired, and this final week is crazy, but it's something we'll never regret.

We don't want this to end just because the competition ends.

-- Jevon Phillips

Photo: Elisabet Riera, Zoeth L. Cardenales-Velazquez, Miguel A. Reyes Santiago, Alain M.Lavalle, Josu√© Vega Torres, Veronica Collazo, Sidelay Ramos Hernandez.  Credit: MTV