'America's Best Dance Crew': Beyond the show to the Jabbawockeez' MUS.I.C.
The first has ascended. The Jabbawockeez, "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew's" original champions, are set to premiere their own original stage show in Las Vegas -- at the MGM Grand no less -- when "The Jabbawockeez Present: MÜS.I.C." launches Friday for a stay on the Strip that runs until May 26.
Super Cr3w and their Meisters watch collaboration, Quest Crew in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" and rocking with Snoop Dogg ... "ABDC" champion alumni are doing big things, We caught up with Rynan "Kid Rainen" Paguio of the Jabbawockeez just to chat about the group's new Las Vegas show, the old "ABDC" show, and life after winning the title.
You guys had a great performance in the Champions for Charity episode of "ABDC." Was that a precursor of what audiences will see in Vegas?
Definitely. That was just a sampler, a little teaser of we're going to do in Vegas cause that Vegas show is a 90-minute show. Since we were on TV, and wanted to capitalize on that, we definitely wanted to give a little piece and let people know that we're on to different things. Moving to the next.
How was it being back on the stage, and for that show in particular with all of the champions?
The show itself was good vibes. The main thing that we all realize is that every time that you're on the show, you know someone's going home. The challenge is to stay on as much as possible to win. But during this championship charity show, we were all winners. There was no challenge and everybody had really positive energy. When there's that competition, you kind of steer away a little bit, but when there wasn't that competition and everybody just wanted to help each other have a great show, it worked to our benefit because every performance that I saw was great.
There are definitely some great crews out there that represent for the dance scene, and then for the underground dance scene, too, that a lot of people don't know about. A lot of them do audition, but some of them just don't get kept. Whether they don't go with the show's themes or whatever, I do think that having this show has helped a lot of crews evolve and want to learn other styles of dance.... As far as the future of the show -- it still has a good chance of being great again because there are still a lot of crews out there that strive for excellence and want to be on that plateau. I think the main thing that I would add is to maybe change up the format a little bit. Maybe doing the show in a different location or something where they could give the dancers an even greater challenge... Maybe kind of like a "Real World" or "Road Rules" type of challenge. But as far as dance, it always evolves and gets better -- you can see it throughout the past five seasons -- that there have been so many different styles.
What are your top highlights being in the Jabbawockeez?
Definitely winning "America's Best Dance Crew" was a big step. That pretty much got us out there into the mainstream, letting people know what we're all about. Then I would say going on tour with New Kids on the Block where we were an opening act. You never see a dance act perform a 30-minute set, let alone be an opening act and dance on their own cause normally dancers are in the background. Another great challenge was our 60-minute show. We've had to advance ourselves because dancers usually perform about five minutes or six minutes. Even on the show, we only .. well, we went from two minutes to seven minutes to 15 minutes to 30 minutes to 60 minutes, trying to make sure that we still entertain the crowd and don't get them bored. We succeeded at that cause we did a whole 60-minute show in the Philippines.... This is all just leading up to what we're going to do in Vegas.
So, in increasing your show's minutes, it's definitely a stamina thing. And what else?
Definitely stamina, of course it's that. Knowing that we have to do longer and longer shows helped us to stay in shape. But, the good thing about it is that we've learned how to become entertainers and put together a whole show. The difference is, when you do television, everything is so fast. Fast-paced. But to really try to keep a crowd entertained and wanting to see more is a big challenge. What we've been able to do is make people think our 30-minute show is only 15 minutes because the entertainment value of our show is always high.
How did the Vegas show come about?
To keep it real, it was a goal that we've wanted for a while. When we got off the show, a lot of us realized that we were getting older as dancers. A really big thing that we wanted was a Vegas show cause then we'd be able to stay home in one area and one place and really put all of our creative energy and artistic freedom into one thing. A lot of times when you do tours or videos or [work on] corporate events, you have to cater to what their product is. You have to cater to how they're doing something. You can still put in what you want to do, but it's a little bit harder.
Are there any surprises that you have in store for Vegas? Maybe guest stars?
There are definitely some surprises in store, but I can't let that out. Hopefully everybody will just check it out at jbwkz.com. If you want tickets, you can go to mgmgrand.com ... The way that I look at it, it's like when Cirque first came to Vegas. It was definitely something different. Then when Blue Man Group came -- definitely something different. Now, when Jabbawockeez comes in, it will definitely be something different.
-- Jevon Phillips
Photos: Jabbawockeez and Kid Rainen. Credit: MTV.