Early on, the reports of crews that were auditioning for America’s Best Dance Crew Season 7 indicated that this should be a very interesting season. Mos Wanted Crew, one of the most well known crews in the dance community, was rumored to be auditioning for the show. There were a lot of younger crews auditioning as well, perhaps inspired by the ICONic Boyz of season 6. However, the real game changer was the announcement that ABDC alumni could reaudition for another shot at the title. From what I can tell, final casting of this season is definitely tougher than it’s been in the past. This season there are two international teams, seven American teams hailing from west of the Rocky Mountains, two kid crews, two all-female crews, and one returning crew. Many of these crews have competed and placed in major competitions like Hip Hop International. In addition, a handful of dancers have been on teams that competed on ABDC in the past. Read after the jump for my thoughts on the 10 competing teams.
8 Flavahz (Hawaii & Los Angeles, CA) – These girls may look young and adorable, but I think the ICONic Boyz comparisons should stop there because 8 Flavahz could eat those kids alive. Also, judging from how articulate and prepared these girls were in their ABDC 7 auditions interview, I would say that they really know what they’re doing. Four of the members auditioned last year as Flavahz Crew, but did not make it to the show. However, D-Trix asked them to come back and reaudition for season 7. They cite Hype 5-0, another Hawaiian crew, as a major influence and hope to advance farther than they did in the competition. Another past ABDC crew that 8 Flavahz looks up to is Fanny Pak, who happens to be returning to compete in season 7 and is the first crew to ever do so. 8 Flavahz’ Fanny Pak idolization makes sense considering they both combine multiple genres of dance. 8 Flavahz describe their style as “flava funk,” a combination of jazz funk and hip-hop. Honestly though, what’s up with kids these days? These kidlets are straight up fierce (I love their outfits by the way). How do they contain all that swag in their itty bitty bodies? I can’t compute.
Collizion Crew (Atlanta, GA) – From what I can tell these guys come from a freestyle background and can do pretty much anything including: gliding, waving, bboying, tutting, popping, strobing, hat-tricking, and bone-breaking. As freestylers, not only do they have good musicality, but they should also be pretty good entertainers (watch them perform at a circus). Just because they are freestylers does not mean that they can’t do choreography. I do have a few reservations with this crew though, their choreography isn’t exactly ground-breaking and a lot of their formations tend to be dependent on highlighting a single member’s freestyle while the rest of the crew does something else. All that being said, it’s hard to predict how these guys will do; if they can really play the crowd, they could do well. The following video showcases their choreography and their freestyle.
Elektrolytes (Phoenix, AZ) – Elektrolytes is certainly no stranger to competition; not only have they auditioned for multiple seasons of ABDC, but they’ve also been on America’s Got Talent and competed in Hip Hop International where they placed 1st in the nation, and 7th internationally. These guys are certainly hype and very capable dancers, eliciting comparisons to the Poreotics in the comments on the video below. I personally don’t think they’re nearly as clean as the Poreotics, but then again, who is? Then again, Elektrolytes does a lot of group stunt work that the Poreotics don’t do and if YouTube comments are any indication, these guys have a very loyal fanbase who think that they can take the title over Mos Wanted Crew.
Fanny Pak (Los Angeles, CA) – Founded in 2005, Fanny Pak combines colorful 80′s influenced outfits with contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop into their own style. You may remember them as the crew that placed third on ABDC Season 2. Since then these guys have gone on to work professionally, appearing in music videos and even recording their own album of dance tracks with District 78. But will their experience be able to help them come back and take the title of America’s Best Dance Crew? On season 2, Fanny Pak appeared in the bottom two twice before being eliminated. It may be difficult to predict how Fanny Pak will do this season considering how much the show has changed since season 2. But then again, so has Fanny Pak. Check out their adorable member intro video below:
Funkdation (Mexico) – Founded in 2008, this Mexican crew can seriously do some popping, locking, waacking, waving, house, and new style (think Les Twins). These guys took third at World of Dance: Dallas 2011 with a really hype and clean routine. These guys seem to regularly travel around Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA taking classes with leaders in the dance community at studios like Movement Lifestyle. Other than that I can’t seem to find too much information on Funkdation. While these guys have serious talent, traditionally, America tends to be less than receptive of international crews– ReQuest anyone? Funkdation will need to fight HARD for America’s votes, but the talent is there. Check out their 2011 reel:
Irratik (Canada) – This all-female crew hailing from Canada was founded by Blueprint Cru (Season 5 alumni) in 2004. They are four-time Canadian Hip Hop Champions and have placed three times at Hip Hop International Varsity Division, taking the silver twice and tying for the gold in 2009. These girls have worked professionally and are super hype. My only concern is that as an all-female crew, they will have to compete with 8 Flavahz crew, who is not only loaded with competent dancers, but could leverage their cute factor for votes.
Mix’d Elements (Los Angeles, CA) – Founded in 2008, this generation of Mix’d Elements was reformed a year ago. Each member specializes in a specific style of urban dance including: boogaloo, locking, popping, bboying, and ticking. As a group they can definitely groove and define their style as “flowtivity,” flow + creativity. Their idea is that they take their individual strengths and incorporate multiple styles in their routines, striving to flow from style to style seamlessly. Mix’d Elements can not only dance and take cool photos, but these guys seem genuinely fun and entertaining (re: will get votes). Check out their freestyle during their ABDC 7 auditions interview:
Mos Wanted Crew (North Hollywood, CA) – Coming into the competition, Mos Wanted Crew is the favorite to win it all. The eight members represent something ridiculous like over 30 dance crews from Los Angeles, CA Orange County, CA San Diego, CA Houston, TX and Chicago, IL. They definitely have the most support from the dance community, and when I say dance community, I’m talking internationally. The members of Mos Wanted all have international careers as choreographers. Many are signed to Movement Lifestyle and all are members of major competition teams like GRV (which just took 1st at WOD:LA, congrats). In addition, a few members of MWC have actually competed in previous seasons of ABDC as members of Boxcuttuhz (Season 3) or SoReal Cru (Season 2). Other members have affiliations with other crews that have appeared on ABDC even if they themselves were not on the show. Besides having a stacked resume, MWC is entirely composed of choreographers, each with their own defined style. As a result, Mos Wanted shouldn’t have any trouble changing it up every week. Some might think that because they are all choreographers that this would cause conflict, but remember that each and every one of these guys is a professional and is no stranger to intense competition. Some of you may recognize Bam Martin– he was the celebrity choreographer at BAC: Boot Camp 2012. The other members are just as talented, but that doesn’t stop them from being real humans. The video below is a pretty good introduction to their style, but you should also check out their solo sets. Note: Ian Eastwood was just formally announced as a new member of MWC and doesn’t appear in these videos.
RNG (Mukilteo, WA) – RNG is a young co-ed crew directed by Kolanie Marks. They auditioned for ABDC season 6, but failed to be selected for the show. Just from quickly browsing their YouTube channel, it’s obvious that RNG is filled with capable dancers. However my concern is one that plagued the ICONic Boyz last season; that they are used to doing Kolanie Marks’ choreography and may find it difficult to adjust to creating their own original choreography each week. (Edit: I now realize that both RNG and ICONic Boyz, along with 8 Flavahz, never did their own choreography, a fact that MTV cleverly never mentioned). However, kids have an extremely terrifying learning curve, and improvement can take you a long way on this show, so who knows?
Stepboys (Sacramento, CA) – These bboys seem to be this season’s comedy routine (think Instant Noodles, Quest Crew, Poreotics). In their ABDC 7 Auditions interview, Chris Trondsen mentions that D-Trix credits who he is today to these guys. Although Trondsen thinks this guarantees them one vote from the judges, D-Trix was much tougher on Instant Noodles last year than some of the other crews because he comes from a similar background. However, what differentiates them from Instant Noodles is that they can do some other styles besides breaking, I mean, have you ever seen a bboy crew perform an aerobics routine? Check out their 2012 promo reel:
tl;dr if Mos Wanted doesn’t win, I’m going to be very very very upset. Season 7 of America’s Next Dance Crew premieres tomorrow night, April 11th @ 10/9c.