Arts

Experience Mus.i.c. with the Jabbawockeez

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The Jabbawockeez started as an underground garage crew in San Diego in 2003. They wowed mainstream audiences in 2008 on America’s Best Dance Crew, and since have made numerous appearances and have performed with some of the most well known artists in the world. Today, the Jabbawockeez are in Vegas, headlining their own show at the MGM. It may be a far cry from their local roots, but the crew remains humble and in touch with what matters most – inspiring others through dance.

The crew’s journey to Las Vegas started when organizers at the MGM approached them because some of their kids were fans of the crew. The folks at MGM wanted a preview of what they could offer, so after a short 20 minute performance the Jabbawokeez were offered a test run of twenty dates for their very own 90 minute show. Crew member Rainen explains that putting together a cohesive show is difficult for a dance crew, but “we’re glad we were able to make the impossible possible, and it ended up becoming great. So that’s why they brought us back for these dates in June.”

In order to put together the show, the Jabbawokeez collaborated with some other well-known names in the dance industry. They called upon long time friends and fellow ABDC champions, SuperCr3w to hone their moves and bring the show together. In addition, Tabitha and Napolean (known for their choreography on So You Think You Can Dance and ABDC) help direct the show from behind the scenes, ensuring the audience gets the best experience possible from the Jabbawockeez.

Their Vegas show in May was tremendously successful, prompting an extended performance schedule. Performances have been added through June 17-23. The crew’s goal is to “keep pushing it, and hopefully we can stick around and take up a permanent residence.”

The “Jabbawockeez Present MUS.I.C.” show is one-of-a-kind, just like the crew that inspires it. The show, called “Mus.i.c” (muse-I-see), is billed as a visualization of sound as experienced by the troupe. “You’ll see 90 minutes of pure Jabbawockeez art. It’s not like ABDC; there are no challenges. We’re not dancing behind artists, we are the artists,” says Rainen.

Whether or not you’ve seen the crew on TV or at one of their shows, Mus.i.c. offers something for everyone. “We wanted to make sure that it’s not just for the hop hop audience. We wanted it to reflect all genres of music as far as rock, alternative, and even something for the older crowd, not just for the kids. It pretty much reaches everybody. People expect to see what they saw on ABDC, but they get something different. There’s a story line to it and there’s a lot of stuff people are going to be wowed by.”

Dressing in expressionless white masks and white gloves, the crew guides the audience’s attention away from individual identities and towards a unified and synchronized group. The Jabbawockeez create a canvas for the audience to visualize the music as they paint beautiful and artistic imagery through precise, intricate movements.

The Jabbawockeez put a lot of their own artistic creativity into the show, and you can tell they really love what they do. Before heading to Las Vegas, the crew traveled a lot, spreading their love of dance. They went to the Australia, the Philippines and performed here at home. When asked about how international fans receive them, they say “it was unexpected.” In Austrailia, they just finished airing the first season of ABDC, and a lot of people knew them from the show. In the Philippines, they are icons. “We had no idea. We were doing shows for 15,000 to 25,000 people. It was amazing. There’s so much love out there.”

In addition to traveling on their own, the crew joined forces with artists like Ne-yo, Leona Lewis, Missy Elliot, Daddy Yankee, and even opened for the New Kids on the Block. Needless to say, it’s been a wild ride for the Jabbawockeez since America’s Best Dance Crew. “Ever since we got done with the show it’s been such a roller coaster ride. We’ve been super busy and blessed. And through that, Vegas just kind of fell into our laps. We were doing all these other gigs and all of a sudden we were approached about Vegas, and said ‘Great. Let’s try it out.’”

Having a show in Las Vegas has allowed the Jabbawockeez to develop their craft. “Entertaining is what we love to do. And we know if you have a show in Vegas, people travel to you. You can build your show and progress with what you do as artists. It’s just been great.”

What’s really great about the Jabbawockeez, is not their show in Vegas, or even the success they’ve seen as a crew. The really great thing about the Jabbawockeez is their ability to remember their roots. “International fans all speak different languages, but they all understand what we do behind this mask. It’s all the same in that sense – in terms of their reactions to what we do as Jabbawockeez. The fact that we’re able to inspire the world through dance is a great experience.”

“The fact that we’re also able to inspire the younger generations is a great feeling and a great accomplishment and we hope we can keep doing that – spreading positivity through dance. It’s all about being positive. You know, there’re a million crews out there that do what we do in their own way. We’re just blessed to be one of those crews to be able to inspire the world. I’m just glad that we can do what we do as Jabbawockeez.”

Established in 2003, this unforgettable crew has a one-of-a-kind style and culture, setting new standards in the industry. Known for creativity, unique choreography, athleticism and intricate synchronization, the Jabbawockeez have changed the way we see dance. Awarded the championship on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew,” the Jabbawockeez have campaigned for Gatorade with their “G” campaign spawning TV ad’s with Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. Additionally the group opened for the nationally televised NBA All-Star Game and performed with Shaquille O’Neal making national headlines. They have garnered millions of fans and been featured on numerous television shows including Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Regis & Kelly, The TODAY Show 2009 Summer Concert Series, E! News, America’s Next Top Model and MTV.

All of this success, and out of a crew from San Diego! Starting as a garage crew in 2003, they now live in LA and travel to Las Vegas for their show. A few members have spent a great deal of time in San Diego, including Rainen who grew up here for 15 years. When he comes back, he likes to hang out at some of the “typical” spots. So, if you’re wondering where you can run into one of the Jabbawockeez, here you go:

“Every time I go to San Diego, I make sure I hit the Mission for breakfast, then I go to Ichiban Sushi, Ono Sushi, Sushi Deli 1, 2 or 3, a lot of food spots. I like to hit up the Mexican spots, Cotixas, almost any Mexican spot and get some super nachos.

Balboa park is great to hang out with family and friends. I always go to the beach out in La Jolla, Pacific Beach on Grand and Garnet. I like to go shopping at the Buffalo Exchange or American Apparel, and all the places over there.”

You can catch the Jabbawockeez for a few more dates this month at the MGM in Las Vegas. Shows run June 17 – 23 at 9:30pm. Additional evening shows were added on June 18-20 at 7:30pm as well. Visit www.jbwkz.com/vegas for more information. For tickets, head to the MGM website.

You can also follow the Jabbawockeez on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Jabbawockeez) and Twitter (@THE_WOCKEEZ)

San Diego resident for over 10 years, I now call this beautiful city home. Originally from the Bay Area, I'm a California girl at heart. I love the outdoors, fitness, food, and a good craft beer (from San Diego of course).

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