JabbaWockeeZ – America’s Best Dance Crew Season 1 Winners

JabbaWockeeZ

jabbawockeez

Is a dance/hip hop crew from San Diego, California who came to fame by winning the reality dance competition America’s Best Dance Crew.  They are known for wearing plain white masks and gloves to provide unity in order for the audiences to focus on them as a whole and not as individuals. The members of the crew are from Asian descents except for Kevin Brewer. With their success and exposure it is clearly evident that not all Asian males fit the stereotype but can actually go against it. The JabbaWockeeZ , mostly an Asian American Crew, redefined the Asian male and what it means to be. The Jabbawockeez followed their passion in hip hop, which consists of music, art, and dance – a culture not predominantly Asian. Not only did they go against the typical Asian male stereotype and succeed by winning America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC); they gave people a new  understanding of what it is to be an Asian male.

Here’s their breakout performance on during ABDC’s live auditions:

And then, during the first official ABDC performance, they took America by storm:

By the time they were done with their week 7 performance, I (and probably the entire US audience) knew they were the season 1 winners:

 

The current line-up (As of June 2011):

Ben “B-Tek” Chung (Korean)
Chris “Cristyles” Gatdula (Filipino)
Kevin “Keibee” Brewer (Black)
Rynan “Kid Rainen” Paguio (Filipino)
Jeff “Phi” Nguyen (Vietnamese)
Phil “Swaggerboy” Tayag (Filipino)
Eddie “Eddie Styles” Gutierrez (Mexican)
Saso “Saso Fresh” Jimenez (Mexican)
Randy “DJ Wish One” Bernal (Filipino)
Joe “Emajoenation/Punkee” Larot (Filipino)

Jeff “Phi” Nguyen

Vietnamese-American

Jeff 'Phi' Nguyen

Jeff “Phi” Nguyen was born in Phoenix, Arizona but moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue his dance profession.  He started dancing when he was 15-years-old.  He makes a living by being a dancer and a hip-hop instructor.  He also coaches in two dance conventions which travel around US cities during weekends.  Aside from dancing, he likes to play the six string (guitar).  His dancing idols is his own Crew, like his best friend Ryan and his own crew member Gary.  His inspiration is God, family and friends.   He likes to joke around and often goes around telling people: “I like Vietnamese Pho! I’m a Virgo and like long walks on the beach! I’m single and ready to mingle! If you’d like, you can call me at 1-800-Vietnamese.”

Rynan “Kid Rainen” Shawn Paguio

Filipino-American

Rynan "Kid Rainen" Paguio
Rynan Shawn Paguio is from San Diego, California.  He started break-dancing with his brothers and friends at the age of 11 in Murieta, California.  Aside from dancing, he also takes pleasure in singing, playing the guitar and being a husband – he was married November 24,2007.  He names a number of dancing idols including Ken Swift, Crazy Legs, Stormy Mauritzo, Swif Rock, Flo-Master, Poe-One, Poppin Pete, Mr. Wiggles, Poppin Taco, Sugar Pop, Skeeter Rabbit and Gee-One.  But his sources of inspiration are  God, his family, Gary Kendell and his crew, Jabbawockeez.  Paguio says ” I am a sexy guy when you close your eyes! I’m Filipino. I need to pay my bills. I love hip hop.”

Ben “B-Tek” Chung

Korean-American

Ben "B-Tek" Chung
Ben “B-Tek” Chung is from Mission Hills, California.  He started dancing towards the end of high school because he thought it was tight.  Chung’s other talents besides dancing includes  Fight Night Round 3 on Xbox.  He pays his bills by teaching dance classes and by working as a performer in the industry.  For him, his dancing idols are his very own crew.  His source of inspiration is music -the mixture of beats, lyrics and rhymes create special feelings and stir him to move. He describes his whole crew as “nasty”, meaning each crew member brings their unique flavors and with it the crew would be incomplete. Chung a born-again Christian is proud to announce that in everything he does, the reason and motivation, whether it’s dancing, working or just breathing  is to glorify the his lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Kevin “KeiBee” Brewer

Who is a African-American not Asian, but I couldn’t leave him out.

Kevin "Keibee" Brewer
Kevin Brewer is a dancer from Sacramento, California.  He earns a living as an expert at Apple since he is an Apple Certified Technician.  Besides dancing he also enjoys producing music and being an emcee.  Brewer’s sources of inspiration are God, his family, Bruce Lee and his crew.  He also has a thing for Mexican food.  Brewer likes to inspire and be inspired. Connecting with people is something Brewer enjoys, because life is fleeting, people should build each other up and fellowship and enjoy one another. He says he entered the dance crew with an open mind and is excited to see how God will move him through the experience.

Phil “Swaggerboy” Tayag

Filipino-American

Phil “Swaggerboy” Tayag
Phil Tayag grew up as a garage dancer in Sacramento, California.  Tayah is a father of two and is also talented in creating music.  He looks up to Gary Kendall, the 80′s Michael Jackson and his crew as his dancing idols.   God, his family and life itself are the sources of inspiration for his dancing career .  In joining the dance crew, he hopes that his crew Jabbawockeez would get an honest exposure that they deserve.  Tayag does not have a favorite crew member, he prefers no one because he sees everyone equally and treats them all as favorites.

Chris “Cristyle” Gatdula

Filipino-American

Chris "Cristyle" Gatdula
Chris Gatdula hails from Las Vegas and San Diego.  Gatdula, a Taurus, graduated with a degree in New Media Emphasis, majoring in film and video production.  He regularly works as a dance instructor to pay for his bills.  Aside from dancing, he is also gifted in video editing and graphic designing as well as snowboarding.  To get inspired, he constantly reminds himself not to fall behind his crew and he always strives to keep up with them because it is also important for him to stay on top of his game.  His dancing idols are his crew and Full Force and he also admires the dancing skills of Gary Kendall.

Joe “Emajoenation/Punkee” Larot

Filipino-American

Joe-Larot-Emajoenation-jabbawockeez

Joe Larot is an American dancer, director, choreographer best known as “emaJOEnation” in JabbaWockeez. Joe,phil,kb has a group back then called “Kaboom Squad” but they were disbanded, Then the 3 became “three muskee” which are part of the JabbaWockeeZ.

Gary “Gee” Kendall

African-American

Gary Gee One Kendall JabbaWockeeZ

Gary Kendall is one of the most influential members  in the JabbaWockeeZ crew  as well as hip hop culture. Kendall had inspired the idea to create a crew with the common goal to raise street dance to the level of art which came together with the formation of the Jabbawockeez dance crew. Unfortunately he passed away in December 14, 2007 in Denver, Colorado fighting pneumonia and meningitis. His spirit still lives on in the hearts of the Jabbawockeez and their closest friends and fans.

Kendall was raised in Seaside, California and started his passion for dance in Santa Cruz. Kendall has taught at various studios and events through out the United States.Gary has spent time producing, directing, and traveling with Monster Shop Bumpin’ and BreakShop, dance productions designed for County and State Fairs around the United States as well as China.

For almost 2 decades Gary served as an ambassador of Hip Hop Culture to the Santa Cruz area. Many boys, girls, men, and women from varied walks of life have been escorted down the path of rhythm with Gary as their interpreter. His warmth, his fun, and his care-free, energetic expression engendered his students with self love and a sense of community. He succeeded in opening the hearts & minds of thousands of students to the beat of Hip Hop music.

“To the lives you touched, to the rhythms you followed, to the footsteps you left behind, and to the talent that will never be forgotten. Here’s to a beautiful life lived. We love you Gee. We will miss you. Dance for us in Heaven.”

Further Reading:

 

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