Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dancer Spotlight: Rino Nakasone!!!!!

Well its time for another awesome dancer spotlight. The lovely Rino Nakasone! I stumbled across you tube vids of Rino whilst looking up another one of my fave dancers Ivan Koumaev. You should definitely click on that link. This is before Ivan was on SYTYCD and got all famous. He was just a kid taking classes…taking Rinos class. I think because Rino and I are the same age, I get where she is coming from. Although she’ll dance to current music, the feel is totally old school. And sometimes she goes back in the bag with songs too. I’ve seen her make up routines to Bobby Brown, and Prince from the Batman era. I can tell that 90’s dance and music were just as epic to her as they were to me. I just love everything about her! She pulls off boy swagger, but is still super feminine and sexy. She is the queen of New Jack Swing. Oh…and shes one of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls. She’s “Music“. Did I forget to mention that? Yeah…like I said…skills.

This video is the first one I saw of Rino. Its her choreography and its dope! She packs a lot of energy, makes great faces and has an old school flavor that I love. FYI: Ivan is on the left in the black t-shirt killin this routine. I heart him.

So in the beginning I had no idea that Rino was a Harajuku Girl. It took me a while to figure it out. And I knew that those girls were fantastic dancers but in the Gwen videos they weren’t really showcased that much. I’m sure they had much more to do in the stage shows, but having never seen one, I was disappointed in the quick cuts of her videos. I couldn’t see the flippin choreography. Which is of course a gripe only a person obsessed with dance would have…but you get the point. So this is a video I’ve watched a billion times over. Its “Music” doing an interview about being a Harajuku Girl and they cut away to Rino free styling to Gwen Stefani’s song “Luxurious”. One, it made me love this song…this video is all I think about when I hear it. Two, Rinos freestyle is SICK. I’ve never seen anyone dance this way to that song…ever. I wouldn’t even know it could be done. The first two dance parts blow my mind. The talking parts are weird…Rino is speaking in Japanese in the interview, but doing her own overdub in English. But never mind that part…just watch the dancing ya’ll!

You may have also seen Rino on America’s Best Dance Crew season 3. She was in the runner up group “Beat Freaks”. They lost to “Quest Crew“. It was an winner take all battle of the sexes…all girls crew vs. all boys crew. And just because its my blog I’m going to break my no more than three video per entry rule and show two more videos. I want you to see how Rino can bring the sexy, and then bring the stank. First the sexy.

Now the stank. Rino is on the right in the green cap. And I’m just going to say that I love it when girls dance in boys clothes…its something I’ve always done and it just looks right to me. I really can’t dance in much else. Rino can dance in anything I’m sure…but it seems like she prefers the baggy and I’m into it.

So that wraps up this dancer spotlight. Check out more Rino on you tube or a Gwen Stefani show or with Beat Freaks and stay inspired! Peace!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hip-Pop/Lets Hear it for the Boys!

BOYS! Hooray. Boys that sing and dance…double hooray. My love of boys that dance started pretty late in life. I didn’t really get it. I slept on most of the boy bands…New Kids On the Block, Backstreet Boys, B2K. I just wasn’t really into it. Not even Nsyncs first album. But around the time that Nsyncs “No Strings Attached” album came out something happened and a light bulb went off. And his name was Justin Timberlake.

And after that light was ignited, on came a love affair so fierce in nature, it forced me to spend a lot of time and a lot of money pursuing my dream of figuring out everything there was to know about this man, to pave the way for our future marriage and life together. Needless to say that dream never came true and this is about as close to JT as I ever got.

I know right? Fatone…I’m a fan for 10 plus years and all I get is Joey Fatone. But alas, this did spark my interest in boys that sing and dance and why I love them.

Lets begin. Top three Princes of Pop for me right now are:
1. Chris Brown
2. Omarion
3. Justin Timberlake

Now I’m sure this needs no saying that Michael Jackson is the best male dancer the world has ever seen. And everyone of these guys, plus more have sited him as being a major influence in their styles of dance and music. So I just wanted to get that out of the way. We all know they bite his style and its one of the reasons we love them so much.

So Chris Brown as of late is not anyone’s favorite pop star. He is effin up big time. But that freaking guy is one of the best all around dancers I have ever seen take the stage and sing a song along with it. I have seen him pop, break, krump, jerk, shablam, vogue, tut, tap, jazz and just about everything else you can think of. He does it ALL. His versatility in many styles of dance along with perfect execution, swagger, and his cute ass smile puts him as my number one. He stepped on the scene when he was only 16 and hasn’t stopped since. Well now he has…but you get what I meant. Video is “Gimmie That”. Note the awesome choreography, and the Chris solo freestyles, and the Chris mini Krump sessions. All GOOD!

Omarion was in the boy band B2K. I never really liked them. A few songs maybe, and when watching the videos I always watched Omarion. That guy was talented. I think the comedian Kat Williams has a bit about meeting Omarion and how he was always dancing.(Note: if you watch the comedy bit there is STRONG LANGUAGE. It ain't for the kids ya'll.) And its pretty obvious this kid has got a lot of energy. In watching some of his live performances singing is pretty much an afterthought. He basically lip syncs to the backing track, kind of sings the chorus and dances his ass off. He also loves to dance with awesome girls that can dance. Here is one of my favorite songs to move too and videos to watch. “Touch”. The lovely female lead is video is the very talented Danielle Polanco. More on her another time. Enjoy!

Justin Justin Justin. I can’t really say that much because I wouldn’t ever stop typing. Just know that I freakin love this guy, and him doing choreography by the amazing Marty Kudelka, basically means non stop awesome party. Martys choreography doesn’t pack a lot of punch. Its cool, smooth, lyrical and super fly. It’s the hip hop that Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly would want to do. The video is “My Love”. And GAAAAAAAAAH its GOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!Sorry about the semi bad quality. Its hard to embed a youtube video these days. Lets hear it for me not being sued yet!

Well that wraps in up for my favorite pop/dance artists. More dance mayhem to come! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hip-Pop/All the Ladies!

Today I thought I would talk about something that everyone is semi familiar with but may not realize it. Lyrical Hip Hop! WOOT! This is the hip hop you see in your fave music videos by your fave artists. And we’ve all seen at least one, and have one video that we wanted to watch over and over and over again. It all started for me with Michael Jacksons “Thriller“. My aunt had the video on VHS which also included the “making of” the video. So not only did I get to see the finished dance…I got to see Mike and the gang in rehearsals for the zombie dance sequence. I was in love…I must have watched that tape so many times. That dance is ingrained into my very being and I will never forget it.

The great thing about music video hip hop is that it HAS to be good. It has to hold your attention, not once like in live performance, and not for an hour in dance class…it has to hold it forever! It has to withstand the continuous plays on MTV, the constant you tube watches, the slow motion, the freeze frames, the HD 60 inch plasmas. It has to withstand it all and captivate every time. And for something to do that time and time again…it has to be pretty spectacular.

Now the key ingredients for all fantastical dance performances are:
1. Great song. You gotta have your jam.
2. Great choreography. Those moves don’t make themselves up.
3. Great performance/performer. The person or persons you want to see dance forever.

I’d like to show you a few clips of some of my favorite pop stars that have won me over with their dance ability's and stellar performances. The only think I love more then a hot pop song, is a hot pop song sung by a person that could also be a professional dancer. It just makes it that much better for me.

Lets begin with the ladies shall we. Top three right off the bat:
1. Janet Jackson
2. Ciara
3. Britney Spears(wait for it...)

Now Janet Jackson has been doing this for a LONG time. But I really only got into her around the “If” period. We all know that video…we all love that video! But I wasn’t an early Janet fan. Then she kind of slipped off my radar and I really didn’t reconnect with her until she came with this really happy poppy sound complete with super colorful happy awesome dance videos. She has ALWAYS been an amazing dancer…I’m sure being a Jackson didn’t hurt either. The video I would like to share is a song that Janet made for the movie Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps that she co-starred in. They always tryin to act. The video is really fun, colorful, great song and GREAT example of lyrical hip hop. They do the entire dance on this moving floor. Its awesome! Song is “Doesn’t Really Matter”. Enjoy!

Now Ciara is still a fairly new artist but I became obsessed with her pretty quickly. Girl can DANCE! She is one of the few female artists that not only have dance heavy performances…but goes just as hard as any male dancer around. At a young 23 years of age she got swagger like no girl I’ve ever seen. If you don’t believe me check out her video “Oh” where she is HER OWN video girl. Her dancing on top of that car is one of most raw video moments ever! But the video I chose to showcase the lyrical skills is none other then “Like A Boy”. Here Ciara plays two roles male and female and does a pas de deux(dance for two ya’ll) with herself! All female dancers in the back showin mad attitude and killin it! Enjoy!

Now Britney Spears needs no introduction. I feel like shes been around since forever. I know her…you know her. And although we all may not appreciate her style of music or vocal “decisions”, she is no doubt a well trained dancer and a person that I have always loved to watch perform. With a background in gymnastics, great technique and awesome choreographers by her side Britney is a dance force to be reckoned with. One my favorite videos is “Me Against the Music” featuring Madonna. This video sticks out for me because she went with different choreographers, one being Colombus Short, star of the dance movie “Stomp the Yard”. Its Britney Bitch!…and Madonna.

So that wraps up the ladies for me. Hope you had fun! Stay tuned for the boys!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicago Jukin,Memphis Jukin, Slow Jukin oh my!

So the name of this blog is The Urban Dance Craze. And I'm totally into a freestyle routine, and the old classics of Pop and Lock, BBoying and old skool flavas. But right now...I'm really loving the new dances. The ones that just seem like they popped out of no where and then all of a sudden turn into the new dance phenomena. I'm talking about the Krumping, Hyphy Dancing, Jerkin, Turfin...and so many more.

So I'm watching So You Think You Can Dance Season 5 and yes I know I'm a little late. But I have to bootleg my television off of the internet so it takes me a while ok. Don't judge. But I'm watching it and a guy goes to audition and says that he does Memphis Jukin. Now I have no idea what this is and am curious to see it. The audition happens, judges love it...I love it. It involves this very interesting footwork, balancing on your toes, and popping. A great combo! So I take it to youtube to school me in the ways of all things Juke...and boy was I surprised. And not necessarily in a good way. Here is an example of the dancing that I saw on SYTYCD...its classic Memphis Jukin.

Its a long video...but you get the point. Pretty cool right!! I was very impressed. Then I realized that that really fast dancing style Footworking from Chicago was a form of Jukin too. I'm not 100% on that fact. I still can't really figure it out. But THEN I went to my ole friend to get a definition of Jukin and I was shocked and awed. The first definition was too graphic for this family show I'll go with the second.

poppin or gridin on the dance floor.

Now that was NOT what I saw on SYTYCD. But upon further youtube searching I found that there was something called Slow Jukin. And it was DIRTY!!! I had always seen people dance this way in the clubs....or in a couple of Ciara videos. But I had no idea that it had a name or that so many girls and boys have no problem showing their midriff and dancing provocatively and then posting it on the internet. Here is a of the tamer clips. Ya'll nasty!

I know. You feel weird right? Yeah I did too. Now I guess thats mostly hip rolling but you can do things on the floor and against the wall or with a partner. You can also do it to faster songs...but to me that style just looks like Stripper Dancing.

I am always surprised by dance and what new and inventive things people can do with their bodies. This little journey into the world of Juking was exciting although I know I've only scratched the surface. Who knows...maybe I'll post a vid of me Slow Jukin on this very blog. HA.....nope.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dancer Spotlight: Mike effin Song!

So I get obsessed not only with certain dances....but certain dancers. You know when you should be sleeping but you can't stop looking at different youtube footage of one particular dancer or routine? Yeah. I have that problem all the time. Right now the top things on my dance radar are...Mike Song...and Mike Song tutting.

Mike Song is a dancer. If you watched Americas Best Dance Crew Season 1, he was in the group Kaba Modern. They got third place.

Mike Song has the best body isolation's in popping I've ever seen. It really seems like every part of his body is a completely separate entity from whatever its attached too. Please watch this video and see if you agree. I apologize in advance for the screaming girls in the video...the mans got fans alright.

Now. If you were paying attention you saw some ridiculous isolation's, amazing musicality(i mean...he basically played off of every beat and bell in the song), and some sick tutting. This also was not a was a routine...from a class he taught. Which of course means that we all, in theory, should be able to learn how to do this. Yep.

Speaking of tutting. Its awesome and something that I have not been able to achieve AT ALL. gives this definition of what tutting is in case you were a little unsure.

The style was originally practiced by young funk dancers and is derived from the positions people were drawn in the days of the Ancient Egyptians. It is these positions seen in these portraits that have been adopted by dancers today. So when you "tut" you change the angles of your arms according to the beat. Those who are more experienced pop when changing from angle to angle thus refining the style. Tutting is still a greatly respected move and King Tut aka Mark Benson is widely acclaimed for pioneering the style.

My hands refuse to bend at a 90 degree angle to my arm. Mikes hands have no problems with it.
Here is a vid of him doing a tutting provided by Nintendos Wii.

It was good wasn't it? You'll watch it a few times...because its THAT GOOD. His precision, humor, and basically just mad skills has him on my mind alot lately. Go to youtube and check out more of this stuff. They are all great. WILL keep you up at night so try to start at a reasonable time.

There are also several tutorials on tutting that I'm going to try out. Some could be good....some could be disastrous. I'll let you know which ones are worth watching so that we may all get our tut on and strive to be like Mike.

And last but not least...I would like to show you a video of Mike Songs routine that he choreographed for the Urban Legends workshop. Mike is in the first group doing the routine, front and center. He also does the routine again solo at around 1:44 with bonus tutting at the end. It is a complex, precise, killer routine and I salute all of the dancers that attempted it...and mad props to the ones who actually pulled it off! For real...I could watch this all day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Story

I've always been a good dancer. Never great...but always good. I was the one who showed off at the family reunion, or cookout, or block party. I loved rhythm, I loved hip hop and r&b music, and I loved moving.

I'm 29 now...30 in a few months and my obsession with all dance, but especially hip hop dance has done nothing but spread like wildfire and threaten to consume my life. So instead of writing a million facebook status updates complete with video and commentary, I thought I would start this blog. I needed an outlet to express my appreciation of dance and thank God for the internet. I would also love to share dialogue with like minded hip hop heads or dance nuts to talk about our favorite dancers, performances, songs to move to or dance classes. Its all about the community.

So please feel free to comment, promote your class, or tell me a story about how dancing has changed your life. I'm all ears!