One of the more possibly positive stereotypes of Pilipinos is that, dang, we can dance! In the recent years, Pilipino-Americans have been coming into the mainstream as some of the most talented and creative dancers ever in the world. Featured on shows across different major U.S. networks, Pilipino-American dancers continue to rock the stages and show that yes, we got skill...
Another dance show that is absolutely saturated with Pilipino-Americans this season is MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. If you remember last season, six members of Kaba Modern from the Pilipino-American organization at UC Irvine, Kababayan, placed third in the competition. The Jabbawockeez, which were co-founded by Pilipino-American Joe Larot (who wasn't on the show), included three Pil-Am dancers: Phil Tayag, Rynan Paguio, and Chris Gatdula (also not on the show--Randy Bernal). As many of you know, they won the competition.
The season which officially starts on June 19, 10pm ET/PT, has an even larger Pilipino-American presence. Eight of the ten crews at least one Pil-Am:
These boys from Philadelphia use hip hop dance to provide a positive outlet for youth in the city. Their goal is to reduce violence and crime in their city through dance and "love". The Pil-Am who's bringing the Philly cheesesteaks is Jay "Rukkus" Jao.
Sass x 7
The seven women of this group come from Rutgers University. Hated to be compared to cheerleaders, these dancers have a hard-hitting style. Madeline "Mads" Camacho represents the East Cost Pinays in the group.
Several of the members of this Washington, D.C. area crew were members of FIND (Filipino Intercollegiate Network Dialogue). Their style mimics famous robot celebrities like Voltron, Megazord, and the Transformers. All of the five bots: Ryan "Gesture" Dalisay, Miguel "Migs" Almario, Joesar "JPizol" Alva, Bryan "Boogie Mind" East, and Michael "Magic Mike" Arellano.
Joey Antonio of A.S.I.I.D. has been profoundly deaf for his entire life, but he is one of the most skilled dancers in the competition. How does he move to the music then? He says he can feel the beats and connect with his teammates.
Xtreme Dance Force
This hip hop/jazz crew for the Midwest brings technicality and training to the competition. However, many crews have criticized the Xtreme Dance Force for their lack of city or "street" background. Alvin "Pino" Ramirez, a co-director, steps up for the Midwest Pinoys.
One of my personal favorites all the way from Houston, this crew completely rocked the 2008 World of Dance competition. Their detailed style is mixed with humor, and for once I completely agree with J.C.: every moment is like a picture. The 6 Pil-Ams on the 7-person representative team are: Brian "Burna" Puspos, Jackie "Jackstar" Lautchang, Mark Fucanan, Ailyn Joy "Ey Candy" Isidro, Brian "Ian" Fucanan, and Andrew "Goodfoot" Baterina.
This Vegas breaking crew went on the show to be an example of the adaptability and raw skill of breakdancers. This crew is actually a conglomeration of three crews--Full Force Crew, Knucklehead Zoo, and Battle Monkees. Pil-Ams in the crew are: RJ "Rockadile" Puno, Ronnie "Ronnie Boy" Abaldnado, and Angelito "Vex" Casal.
My other personal favorite, they've been promoted as the "Jabbawockeez' rivals." Indeed, they have competed against the Jabbawockeez, but they haven't shared the same press so far. Representing the San Francisco Bay Area Pil-Ams are Jonathan "Bionic" Bayani, RJ "KoolRaul" Navalta, and Alfred "Mitch" Sanedrin.
Honorable Mention: Team Milennia
This group representing Cal State Fullerton was labeled as "one that all other groups measure up to." Unfortunately they were in the toughest region on the show and were eliminated in the audition special. However, their pre-performance interview was a huge acknowledgment to Pilipino-Americans in the dance world.
So that's about 50-100+ Pil-Ams on America's Best Dance Crew this season. Watch the casting special via the link below!
America's Best Dance Crew Casting Special [MTV]
Meet the Crews [DanceWatcher]
Fil-Am Famous: Is dance how we'll get noticed? [Hip Hop Lives]