Saturday, December 10, 2011

DirtFaceX's Steelo 444 Fundraiser Review

As soon as I saw the initial lineup for the show, I bought a plane ticket to L.A. without hesitation. I knew that it was going to be a historical night and I didn’t want to miss it. Plus, I was really eager to see Team iLuminate live. Then, as the event got closer and closer, more and more big names were being added to the bill. Finally, on the night of the show, I get to the venue an hour before doors open and already there were a bunch of people waiting on line to get in. I stood on the red carpet with the crew as I watched all the remarkable talent attending the show. Other than the performers of the night, the “who’s who” of dance came out in support. We interviewed members of the Rock Steady Crew, most of the LXD cast, the Beat Freaks, Nigel Lythgoe, I.aM.mE, Poreotics, Instant Noodles, The Groovaloos, and many others. Whether they personally knew Steelo or not, everyone was just there to support a well respected member of the dance community. One of the last interviews we did was with The SUPERwockeez- the collaboration of the first two ABDC champs. They were also accompanied by the BabyWockee, Ariah. Many of the dancers not only expressed their support for Steelo, but also the lesson learned from Steelo’s incident in that life can drastically change at any given moment.

The show started a little after
8pm with spoken word poetry from VZion8ink (Charlie from the Groovaloos). The warm reception Charlie received was a good indication of things to come. My seat was the best in the house. I sat in the center of the stage, second row- directly behind the talent- mainly the JBWKZ, Super Cr3w, and members of Killafornia. The night was hosted by comedians Affion Crockett and Anjelah Johnson. What really surprised me was finding out Affion started his career as a Groovaloo before making it big in comedy and Anjelah is actually best friends with Steelo’s wife, Penelope. So it was truly a family affair. The vibe in the room throughout the night was just an outpouring of love for a friend in need. Words can’t describe the emotions and positive energies in that room. It was just amazing that everyone who performed there did it for FREE- with all the proceeds going to the Steelo’s family. Next Generation (featuring the two members of Future Funk) tore it up with their b-breaking skills and youthful energy. The Beat Freaks performance was fantastic in that it started off with an emotional vocal solo from Keeley. The routine was accompanied by DJ Angie Vee and beautiful Ashlee Nino on drums. It’s always different (in a good way) to see dancing to live music (as opposed to a track). Cloud amazed everyone with his piece to a MJ medley. Killafornia had everyone in awe with their b-boy set accompanied by a unique rap solo. I looked around during their set and everyone was just wide-eyed thinking “that was crazy!”. Gustavo Vargas choreographed a piece entitled “Steelo Rico” featuring Blueprint Cru member, Vincent Noiseux. tWitch had everyone’s head bobbing as he did a solo piece to Shaq’s rap classic, “What’s Up Doc?”. The LXD amazed as usual featuring two members of the Ringmasters and Kaba Modern’s Mike Song. Wayne Brady kept the good times rolling, doing a little comedy bit with Affion then tearing the house down with his own “Back in the Day” song and choreography. Is there anything in entertainment that he can’t do??? Anjelah and Affion played a hilarious joke on the audience by having everyone take our cell phones out in honor of Steelo... and telling us to turn them all off as we get ready to see a special performance by Team iLuminate. I went bonkers for the contemporary routine with a centipede illusion being the most memorable moment for me. These guys really need to get their own show going....

There was a short intermission with Crazy Legs (of the Rock Steady Crew) DJ’ing outside in the lobby. I walked around and said ‘what’s up?’ to many of the dancers. I saw ChiTown’s Finest Breakers, JD of the Massive Monkees, Mami from We Are Heroes, Myron Martin, stars from the Step Up movies... anyone who was anyone was there! All hanging out in one place. We come back from intermission to an AMAZING set by David Garibaldi. Look him up, he is an amazing artist- combining music, painting, and dance. That night as he painted a portrait of Steelo right before our eyes. Then came the Pledge Opportunity, in what I thought was one of the most touching moments of the night. Our hosts projected a live, online pledge drive encouraging the crowd to text their donations in hopes to reach the goal of $20,000. Everyone took their phones out and started donating away. The screen posted live, real-time pledges and the crowd went crazy whenever a big donation was made. It only took a few minutes to reach our goal, thanks to the help of several big donations made. Afterwards, it still kept on going. We had reached just under $40,000 just before the screen came down. It was amazing that a room full of people just donated over $30,000 in less than 5 minutes. If that wasn't enough, a Jabbawockee then came out and presented a giant check for another $20,000 made out to Steelo Vazquez. After a prayer from Pastor Anthony Powell, Penelope Vazquez came out with her husband and man of the night, Steelo- who was brought out on a wheelchair. The entire place erupted as there was a long standing ovation for the dance icon. I admit, I became a little teary eyed myself when I saw the look of emotion on Steelo’s face and the little popping moves he did in his chair. Everyone was just soo amazed in the progress Steelo has made in the short amount of time since the incident and his strength was an inspiration for us all. Afterwords, Penelope surprised everybody, including her husband, with a dance routine of her own. All the hard work everyone had put in preparing for the show had certainly paid off. Everyone did a fantastic job! Up next was the SuperWockeez. The set started off with music producers, the FingerBangerz dropping heavy beats and heart pounding sounds. The masked champions then came out and did a combination of their Devastating Stereo routine (complete with BabyWockee, Aria- who had extended her ABDC Finale piece that night) and their Robot Remains piece. Everyone rose to their feet, giving the champs a standing ovation. A wrap up video was played, followed by a huge cypher closing out the show with dancers jumping on stage from the crowd joining in. It was an amazing night with the show’s hosts closing everything out by putting up the pledge screen. The total was now over $50,000! The entire show was documented by a film crew and can be viewed in the weeks to come -- details will be available at Afterwards, EVERYONE gathered in the lobby and partied it up. I got to meet and chat with a lot of the talent there- including Wayne Brady. Everyone appreciated my support for making it out all the way from NY- and I told them... "There was no way I was going to miss that show." In those 3 hours of the show... I went through a whole gambit of emotions. I've never met Steelo, but the fact that the whole night was just for him... that speaks volumes about who he is. It was truly a once in a lifetime event, and I’m sooo glad that I was there.

Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Videos: The Bridge Competition 2011 - Instant Noodles, Choreo Cookies & some winners

More highlights from 2011 The Bridge Competition:
2nd place winnners Barkada Modern:

3rd place winners Common Ground

Choreo Cookies 

Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Prelude EC videos:The winning crews - Concept Artists, Midas Touch, Rhythm Addicts

Here are the performances at 2011 Prelude EC. Click here to return to the first page and to leave comments.

Second Place winner: Midas Touch

Third Place winner: UFP