On the night before the airing of episode 2 of season 7 of America’s Best Dance Crew, Intersections had a chance to conduct an exclusive interview with Jeremy Strong of Collizion Crew. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Collizion is holding it down for both the South and the whole East Coast on ABDC Season 7: Return of the Superstars. Catch the interview after the jump to learn more about these Southern street dancers, their preparation for ABDC as well as an explanation of their brief stint at a circus!
You guys have auditioned for ABDC before, but what do you think got you guys onto the show this time around?
Jeremy Strong: I think it’s really just persistence. I believe that it’s perfect timing, and I believe that it’s our time to be here [on America’s Best Dance Crew]. We did change a couple members, but I don’t think that changed anything as far as what we did as a crew. So I believe that it’s just perfect timing, you know, it’s our time to come here. We came here with the attitude, as far as “OK, there’s no over it” and we just went in thinking this is our time.
So if changing the members didn’t really affect what you did as a crew, what would you say are some of your major influences that shape your unique style? Are there any past or current ABDC competitors that influenced you in any way?
JS: I don’t believe any of the old [ABDC] or new crews influence our style because we dance so differently from everybody else. Our influences come from things like the choreography game, like anyone who makes it a craft, we’ll watch Michael Jackson, really people like that. There are different people as far as the pop scene. Then there are different people in our Atlanta scene that help us form our style.
From what I’ve seen of Collizion, you guys are really an all-styles crew in every sense of the term. It seems like you guys can do every style I can think of. Do you guys do a lot of freestyle battles and is that the basis of all your choreography?
JS: That’s actually how we started dancing; we were just strictly a battle crew. We just started popping, breaking, krumping. We try to always have a funk in what we do, just growing up partying and dancing in clubs and dancing to the music in the South. Southern music has this big 808 beneath it and we dance on these beats, all those hi-hats, and snares. So we danced with that and that gave us our funkiness. We studied a lot of these street styles like popping, breaking, krumping and combining all these street styles is what we do.
So how do all these street styles manifest in choreography – after all ABDC is a choreography show – how does your background in street styles affect the way you put sets together?
JS: When we put things together, we do it collectively. Every one pretty much knows their role in the group. If you’re doing one thing, someone is doing another thing, I may be the person bringing something else, but we’re putting everything together. It may be counting; someone may know the steps and knows how to break down each little count and maybe Vince [Luciano] has an illusion or someone has other ideas. We can take all of our ideas, everything that we’ve learned over the years, as far as our street styles. We understand how to move together because we’ve been a crew since 2003. We know how to move together, how to dance as a unit.
Sort of a random side note – when I was looking up Collizion Crew on YouTube, I found a clip of you guys performing at a circus.
What was that about? I just brought it up because ABDC is famous for having that round stage, which is kind of an odd staging situation for choreography. Did that circus performance help you guys prepare for that?
JS: The whole circus thing came about because we went into a contract and it was like you show up and perform somewhere or battle, and we loved that. Eventually that led to a circus. I was like, “Circus? We’re not clowns.” But actually it ended up being fun. It was a way for us to make extra money and a way for us to travel. But we always love performing. The circus kind of became a way for us to perform to an almost 360º crowd, just like on ABDC. So that made us used to getting crowd interaction that way.
I’ve always thought that ABDC is an extremely tough competition because a crew’s survival on the show rests entirely on just about a minute of choreography. In that timeframe, the crew has to pull out all the stops to complete their challenge, win the crowd over, and earn the judges’ approval. How has Collizion risen to the challenge and how did you prepare for the show?
JS: A lot of practice. We understand the first impression, in anything, is the impression that people remember you by. We wanted to make sure that the first time we appeared on national television was going to make a statement. But we just did a lot of practice, a lot, a lot, a lot of practice. We’ve been a crew since 2003, so we’re used to dancing with each other. Now the follow through is pulling together our routines because it’s kind of awkward. We try to do a theme in order for our moves to make sense and we do want them to make sense. If it wasn’t for the theme, we’d have nothing to go off of for the steps and all we’d be left with are the illusions and creating more illusions and tricks. Those just come. Those are cool, but if you’re not telling that story while tricking, then people won’t believe what we’re trying to portray and it’d just be all about pictures.
Obviously, you guys went to California to win the title of America’s Best Dance crew…
Yes, but other than winning, what does Collizion hope to achieve through the course or process of this show?
JS: We hope to inspire people a lot. I feel like we’re the underdogs of the show because people don’t know us as well as some of the other crews. But I know how good we are, and the talent that we have. We just hope to inspire people and show people that you can do anything you want to do. We come from being homeless, not having parents… different things like that, but we feel like we can be like any other crew. We push to get where we want to be. We’re very driven and from here on out we’ll go on to whatever else we may have coming. I know some members of the crew really want to do a lot of different things as far as commercials and getting into acting, and whatever else they may have besides dancing, but our angle is really to inspire people and show that you can really do anything you put your mind to.
What’s your experience been like on the show so far?
JS: It’s been great, everyone here is great. It’s just sort of a funny feeling because it’s an experience of a lifetime. I mean not everyone gets to say that they’ve been on a dance reality show like this. We’ve been meeting so many different crews and meeting so many crews of different styles and working with all the different crews. It’s just a blessing.
What’s the one thing about Collizion that separates you from all the other crews and capture America’s attention?
JS: It’s our passion. I think that we dance because we love it and I feel as though if people see the love that you have for what you do that they end up loving what you do. You can feel it from the way we dance. It’s something that operates on the personal level… from our faces, people should feel that through the television wall. America should see that. Also, we dance for women. That’s another way we started… to get girls. Girls like to see guys that dance.
JS: We noticed that and started dancing. So we do cater to women a lot, but besides that it really is our passion. That’s what is distinctive about us, from everyone else. I believe that our passion is like none other.
**End of interview**
Friend Collizion on Facebook.
Don’t forget the Mo Mo’s twitter, @clzmomo.
Be sure to check out and subscribe to the crew’s YouTube channel.
Make sure you tune in to MTV Wednesday night, April 18th @ 10pm ET/PT to catch episode 2 of America’s Best Dance Crew – Season 7: Return of the Superstars to see how Collizion Crew tackles the Flo Rida Challenge. You don’t want to miss the group number set to “Wild Ones” where the crews perform with Flo Rida on the ABDC stage.