Show Tracker

What you're watching

« Previous Post | Show Tracker Home | Next Post »

'America's Best Dance Crew': Video and illusions of dance

February 13, 2009 |  4:18 pm

It's getting a lot tougher to decide between crews on "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew," though two have stood out from the start. Despite that, gotta say that after watching them all perform over and over again, every crew brought it and no one really messed anything up.  But before we get into that, let's just talk about the challenge of creating an illusion.

Maybe learning a trick, seeing the man behind the curtain, is easy, but the crews all made them look pretty real.  Trying to figure them out put the judges, especially Shane, and the audience to shame.  I surely couldn't. And the man behind helping them learn such wizardry is Franz Harary. We had a quick chat about his "ABDC" experience.

Now on to the magical movements, and we'll start with Beat Freaks. Their take was to illustrate levitation. First thought? They'll lift someone up. But no, it's magic here, baby!  A small, metallic-looking ball was released and controlled by the women, while they did some sick windmills in the middle, and pop locking on the side. The ball floating was amazing, but the fact that you also couldn't look away from the dancing is a big credit to them. Shane Sparks called it one of the best performances of all three seasons, and JC was happy that they "owned the prop" and didn't let it go wild. Lil Mama, always the feminist, was happy to see women on stage without having to "take their clothes off."

Next to Quest Crew. These guys are good, and probably, even with Beat Freaks being a crowd pleaser, the favorites to win it all. And they did not disappoint with their "object-going-through-body" illusion.  Set up as a poker game gone awry, the crew had style, a few cool flips, great dancing, and a trick that (again) I'm still trying to figure out as a crew member shoved a coat rack through another! Very nice, very theatrical. The judges had a little bit of criticism, with JC saying that their transitions weren't as clean as they could've been, and Lil Mam saying they were crowding the stage. Shane warned them that they were good, but "Beat Freaks is on y'all's butts!"

Strikers All Stars are hanging in strong. Their choreography is always together, and they are crowd pleasing for the ladies. Their illusion was to have one person walk through another. They did it, and did it well, but their overall performance wasn't up to their standards. Some cool moves, but as a whole, not their best, according to Lil Mama ("need to bring more energy").


Fly Khicks was, again, put in the bottom two. Can't understand the Khicks hate, but these girls go out and battle every week.  Again, they came out strong with the chair spins and the splits. Their illusion, an extended arm going through all of the girls, wasn't spectacular (though I can't figure it out), but their dancing was good.  JC called it a great performance, and "was grinning from ear to ear when he heard that they got the [stretch] challenge." Shane said they "danced their butts off," but Lil Mama was confused by their choreography. I sense a little bit of hating going on.

But it didn't matter because Dynamic Edition, the crew that I think everyone was rooting for but none of the regular "ABDC" crowd was really supporting, banged out its last clog. In a clean performance, with a little more hip-hop in it, the cloggers from Alabama had to make two people out of one for their illusion. It worked out OK, especially for those in front of the black cloth, but their specific brand of dance came to an end. Like Ringmasters, being specialists in one thing may not endear you to a more general, and generally hip-hop, crowd. But they should know that they've definitely given a whole new crowd of people an appreciation and a respect for clogging that most likely wasn't there before.

-- Jevon Phillips