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Inspiring, Motivating, Energizing

Sometimes it feels strange to admit that I’m a fan of something. As if only screechy teenage girls are allowed to fall passionately in love with something. Nevertheless, I am indeed a diehard fan of a few select people and groups of people. I was surprised, a year ago, to find myself a fan of Quest Dance Crew, one of the most incredible dance crews I have ever seen. A group of people that continue to inspire me. But this year, for the 6th season of America’s Best Dance Crew, I fell in love with 6 people and I want to tell you why.

Di (Moon) Zhang, Brandon (747) Harrell, Phillip (Pacman) Chbeeb, Olivia (Chachi) Gonzales, Emilio (Millie) Dosal, and Dzajna (Jaja) Vankova are the members of IaMmE (Inspire, Motivate, Energize). Their formation is slightly confusing to me, but it involved the coming together of people from 3 different countries and even more ethnicities; it involved the coming together of 6 incredible minds. Pacman, 747, Chachi and Millie are all from America, but Moon is from China and Jaja from Czech Republic, she only got her green card in the last year.

I started watching ABDC because of Quest crew. I was instantly a fan, but not just because of their tricks, their dancing, or their creativity, but because of that team spirit, the brotherhood among them was so strong it was beautiful. It forced me to look at my own life and seek that same brotherhood with the people around me. And in addition, a passion to learn how to dance began to grow.

I think there is something so important about movement, about expressing oneself and one’s inner-most passionate feelings through as emotional and powerful an artform as dance. And I think when that artform is put together by a group of people, the power increases exponentially. So when I heard there was going to be a 6th season of ABDC, I knew I had to see it.

As the weeks passed, I watched many awesome crews get voted off, meanwhile IaMmE stayed strong. They stayed strong because all along, they had something unbelievable and fresh to offer the world. Before, I think, even they knew it, they were representing something fundamental to what makes this America; that we have the freedom to make our own destiny, and that freedom comes by embracing ourselves and our talents, no matter where we come from, no matter who we are.

I do not know a lot about dance, and I have focused mostly on hip-hop and b-boying since I started learning, but when I discovered the things Pacman has done over the years, it felt like a breath of fresh air. It opened up something personal inside of me too. His dancing is so fluid and crisp, and it is poignant at the same time. As I’ve seen video after video of him and his crew, I have begun to see how great his heart is. And his caring for his team-mates (especially Jaja, who he asked to come half-way around the world, to a country she’s never been to, to dance with them) sank into me.

To me, Dance Crews are an incredible feat of the human mind. Every move must be precise and on beat, and everyone must work together, in order for the choreography to be unique, every dancer has to provide their own input. Every single season of ABDC, the collaborative groups have come out as the winners for a reason. And I think it is such a beautiful irony that cooperation can actually empower our own unique wonder.

They let people vote online, by text, and by phone for an entire week, and as my life moved in all sorts of directions, I kept coming back to their incredible work, and their incredible spirit. I listened to them talk about their lives and what the experience of being on ABDC was like and I learned just how emotionally and physically all of them were taxed, but every time they hurt, they came back to each other and they held one another and they shared their joy and their sadness with every moment.

I saw such power in each of them, like an animalistic roar, shouting to the universe, it was like a flame that began to make my insides boil. I could feel in them the passion and the joy, no matter what blocks our way, of creation, of the artistic process. I could see it exploding out of them like a nova and it blew my mind away. I have never voted for anyone for a competition show, but I clicked vote I don’t know how many times.To see IaMmE win ABDC was so beautiful, it touched my heart, I was so happy for them. In a way that sounds corny, cheesy and stupid, but in fact I am happy for them because of what it means for the rest of the world, what it means for dance.

IaMmE is still a young group, considering 1 of their members has only been in the US for a short while, and they haven’t been dancing as a group of 6 for more than a year or two. But I think that, combined with their creative thinking, gave them a grace and sincerity that I haven’t seen in previous ABDC seasons. I think previous winners have had this charisma and flair, but IaMmE has shown us a group with real integrity and crushing honesty.

I tip my hat to them this week. IaMmE, you have no idea how much you inspire me, motivate me, and energize me to continue to practice my own creative and artistic process, and to seek out other opinions and collaborate with other people, and to work towards growth and improvement. I am extremely excited to see what you have next for us.

Posted in Blogging, Soapbox by Preston on June 6th, 2011

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