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Jabbawockeez Unmasked

Nguoi-viet.com, Q&A, Lisa Huynh Posted: Sep 27, 2008

Its a silly name for a very serious group.

Started in 2003, the Jabbawockeez group brought together a group of friends who wanted to showcase freestyle dance. The hip hop scene was flooded with ''dance troupes'' that seemed to ''clone'' dancers. There was no balance between ''dancing to music'' and ''dancing as artistic expression.'' Thus the birth of the Jabbawockeez crew.

Each member came from different backgrounds, both in dance and in life, and brought a variety of styles and perspectives. Jabbawockeez was the brainchild of Joseph Larot, Kevin Brewer and Phil Tayag , who joined five other dancers to create the style of the group. The group now numbers 11, including Phi Nguyen.

Initially, the Jabbawockeez made appearances at local showcases and club events in San Diego and Los Angeles. Their impact on the hip hop community has awarded them worldwide recognition. Some pioneers of hip hop have offered their support of the Jabbawockeez crew. It is the mission of the Jabbawockeez to inspire the world through music and dance.
Source: www.jabbawockeez.com
LOS ANGELES Jabbawockeezs freestyle ways launched MTVs ''Americas Best Dance Crew'' show like no other. The white-masked innovative group, captured succinctly in its motto ''A Figment of your Imagination'' took the competitions grand prize.

Since then, life for crew member Phi Nguyen has been moving at warp speed.
The 26-year-old Phoenix native said hes constantly on the road these days, touring and appearing at places ranging from 2008 Asian Excellence Awards to the Teen Choice Awards to ''Live with Regis and Kelly.'' Thats not unexpected considering the popularity of ''Americas Best Dance Crew'' 38 million votes were cast in the week leading up to the season ones live finale.

The show just finished up its second season with a third on the way.

Since setting ''the standard for the next 10 seasons,'' as show judge and hip hop choreographer Shane Sparks put it, Jabbawockeez continues performing live as it awaits the release of a new clothing line, Nguyen said. The group headlines an ''Americas Best Dance Crew'' tour in September and October.
Not in a city near you? Dont worry. Jabbawockeez has a life of its own on the Internet, with 40 videos posted on youtube.com videos that have gotten millions of looks from fans.

Although we did know a little about Nguyen in advance hes a Virgo and likes phở he took a break from his busy schedule to share a bit more about himself and his crew.

NV2: When did you start dancing?

Nguyen: 16

NV2: What were you doing before ''Americas Best Dance Crew''?

Nguyen: Building with my crew and traveling on a convention, teaching.

NV2: Where did the crews name come from?

Nguyen: From a Lewis Carroll poem called ''Through the Looking-Glass (and What Alice Found There'').

NV2: So, whats up with the mask? Why do the performers wear masks?

Nguyen: We wear it so that the audience can focus on the movement and sound. It also strips us from color/creed/age, etc...

NV2: What was going on behind the scenes on ''Americas Best Dance Crew'' that you think audiences would be surprised about?

Nguyen: Nothing crazy.

NV2: Has your life changed much since the show?

Nguyen: Yes. Im on the road constantly.

NV2: How did it feel to win ''Americas Best Dance Crew''? How did you celebrate the win?

Nguyen: It felt like we did G (Gary Kendell, an original crew member who passed away in 2007) proud. Ive just been chillin with the cash.

NV2: What are the Jabbawockeez up to these days?

Nguyen: Clothing line coming out, called JBWKZ. And the ABDC tour.

NV2: What kinds of fans do you have?

Nguyen: All ages. From kids to adults. I noticed Asian people took a liking to us as well.

NV2: Whats the most played out dance move? Most underrated?

Nguyen: Nothing.. I think every move is tight. But, I think styles can get played out.

NV2: What did you think of ''Americas Best Dance Crew'' season two?
Nguyen: I think they were amazing.

NV2: What do you really think of the judges?
Nguyen: They were all cool!

NV2: Where do you get your creative inspiration?

maskNguyen: Life. And all the ups and downs that happens in it. Cartoons.

NV2: How does it feel to see all the Asian representation on ''Americas Best Dance Crew'' and in Jabbawockeez itself?

Nguyen: Its great! We contribute to the culture of hip hop as well.

NV2: What do your parents think about what you do?

Nguyen: They are loving it.

NV2: Are you still single? If so, whats your type? What do you look for in a partner?

Nguyen: If a lady meets me personally then she can ask me and find out.

NV2: Tell us something we dont know about you.

Nguyen: Im scared of the ocean.

Jabbawockeez on tour:

25: Boston Citi Performing Arts Center
26: Atlantic City, N.J. The Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall
27: Sewell, N.J. Commerce Bank Arts Centre
September 29: Washington, D.C. DAR Constitution Hall
30: Newark, N.J. New Jersey Performing Arts Center

1: Albany, N.Y. (Palace Theatre)
3: Detroit (Masonic Temple Theatre)
4: Milwaukee (Milwaukee Theatre)
5: Rosemont, Ill. (Rosemont Theatre)
6: Kansas City, Mo. (Midland Theatre)
8: Denver (Wells Fargo Theatre)
11: Oakland, Calif. (Oakland Paramount Theatre of the Arts)
13: Everett, Wash. (Com-cast Arena at Everett Events Center)
14: Portland, Ore. (Rose Garden Theater of the Clouds)
16: Los Angeles (Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE)
17: Las Vegas (Orleans Arena) 
18: San Diego (San Diego Sports Arena) 
19: Phoenix (Dodge Theatre)
22: Grand Prairie, Texas (Nokia Theatre)
23: Houston (Jones Hall)

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