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In recent years, dance is starting to become more popular and well recognized. As someone with a love for dance and past experience with the art medium, I am immensely proud and relieved that it is receiving the recognition it deserves. There’s something about the art of human movement that makes it all the more complex, impactful, and extraordinary. As a tribute to dance, here are some of my favorite dance performances you should consider checking out! 

Identity - Keone and Mari Madrid, Beyond Babel 

I have been a big fan of Keone and Mari Madrid for years way before they were on the televised version of World of Dance. The married dance couple are so intricate and authentic in their works; I can’t get enough of their unique dance style. They are truly amazing dancers together and respectively in their own lanes. This performance of theirs with Beyond Babel back in 2019 has such a great storyline I was able to detect fairly quickly. It starts off with members of Beyond Babel mostly taunting Keone as he expresses emotions of frustration and anxiety. Then it abruptly slows down once Mari, back then pregnant with their daughter Numah, enters in. The choreography goes from hip hop to contemporary and the emotions become more soft and dark. Keone is then seen multiple times approaching Mari but fails to do so as Beyond Babel members block him every time. At this point, they represent the downs of life hitting the couple, separating them apart. Mari ends the performance with being the one to counter Beyond Babel’s constant blockage, allowing Keone and Mari to finally be together again. 

As a dancer who loves seeing storytelling, this one was so raw and intriguing to watch. The sharp and unexpected transition from an energetic hip hop performance to a more sensual contemporary performance stood out to me the most. It seemed off at first but I started to see that it really fitted well the more I watched it. Keone and Mari always impress me every time; this one performance impressed me the most. 

Watch the performance here.

Orphans - Choreo Cookies 

Choreo Cookies is a San Diego-based dance team beloved around the world. Keone and Mari used to be the directors of the dance crew before their departure in 2015. This performance was one of their last ones with the crew that was performed at the beginning of that same year. Out of all the Choreo Cookies performances, this is one of my personal favorites. They danced to the entire song of Brother by Matt Corby, which fits well with the theme of the performance. Each dancer plays an orphan and the performance reflects on family and being there for one another no matter what. The beginning starts off with each of them doing their own pose, and then the music starts as they break off their poses and come alive. After the introducing choreography ends with them looking up to the lights, a new orphan comes in and the rest of them comfort and welcome them, knowing and empathizing the exact pain he is enduring. The rest of the performance consists of visual representations of what orphans suffer through: abuse, labor, trauma, and so on. But they are strong together as a family and are able to increase the strength of their bond as they unite together as one. I started to tear up in the middle of watching it, but the ending is what brought me to full-on tears. Everyone returns to their positions and poses from the beginning of the performance; eventually, the new orphan joins them as he is now one of them and part of the family. 

Choreo Cookies is beloved around the world for their incredible storytelling and emotional attitudes on stage. But this one hits the most. Just like with the style of Keone and Mari, especially since they were the directors of the crew at this time, it was raw and intriguing to watch. It sparked such movement within my soul; you can see how much pain each dancer poured into the performance, like they are dancing with purpose. I absolutely love seeing that in dance, which is why Choreo Cookies is one of my favorite dance crews of all time and this is one of my personal favorite performances of theirs. 

Watch the performance here.

Lemon - The Lab 

Now this one… this performance by the Lab got everyone to their feet, including me. Their energy, their attitudes and the amazing stunts was incredible to see over the fact that it was so effortlessly clean. The dancers also being so young makes it even more impressive. The entire routine was choreographed by D-Trix, a member of the B-Boy dance crew and America’s Best Dance Crew Season 3 winners, Quest Crew. Discovering that made a lot of sense to me as I am thoroughly familiar with his style of dancing and the performance speaks for itself. 

The performance centers around the theme of school and students conquering their final exams. They are seen sleeping on their desks while holding the test in their hands. All their hard work and time spent studying led up to this important test. As they wake up when the music starts, they put on a happy face as they cover it with the test, crumble it up and break down into an energetic and angry dance filled with jumps, flips, and all kinds of stunts. It was just so out of this world; they really showed how competitive and top notch they are as a crew and they came to win. They are on a whole other level, and are able to dance perhaps a lot better than those who are older and have been dancing a lot longer. That shows how incredibly skilled they are and they deserve my mad respect when it comes to dance. 

Watch the performance here.

Way Down We Go - Charity and Andres 

This performance absolutely blew my mind. I knew from their qualifying performance that their technique was so in control that it’s almost insane, but this performance helped surpass my expectations as it felt so god-like to watch. From my interpretation, the two dancers, Charity and Andres, are playing two people in an intense, heartbreaking relationship with each other. They try their absolute best to make things work between them, like they are fighting for each other’s love. It makes it feel like a competing relationship filled with rage and dislike towards each other yet they don’t give up on staying together. 

The technique they performed was truly jaw dropping. Usually for partner dances where there is a male dancer and a female dancer, it is very common to see the male dancer carrying the female dancer. But for Charity and Andres, they defied that common trait by becoming each other’s physical strengths; seeing that is so refreshing. The most jaw dropping part was Charity blind jumping onto Andres’ back. I had the same reaction as Jennifer Lopez: “What the hell was that!?” I couldn’t believe my eyes upon seeing such a risky move. I had never seen anything like it in my life; it was shocking but monumental. The judges, Derek Hough, Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo, all scored the performance a perfect 100, making history as the first performance of the entire show to achieve that score. In my opinion, that score was well deserved because they surpassed the limits of skill and technique they’re capable of. Charity and Andres are both truly a powerful and athletic duo. 

Watch the performance here.

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World of Dance 2015 - Royal Family 

Hailing from New Zealand, Royal Family has choreographed and appeared in a number of performances for celebrities like CL, Big Bang, Ciara, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and many more. Their performance from World of Dance Los Angeles in 2015 is perhaps the most recognized, not just in the dance world, but all of the media. This dance crew pulled off a crazy performance that I can’t get enough of. Although the choreography looks easy to do, they do it with such high energy and attitudes that keeps the audience more engaged and attentive. Their facial expressions say it all. I personally love how the dancer Kirsten Dodgen did her facial expressions; she stood out to me the most. 

Parris Goebel is the main choreographer of this fantastic performance. She is the dancer that stands out the most as she appears in the thumbnail of the video on Youtube wearing all black with a white baseball hat and hoop earrings. Everything in the dance routine was filled with extreme excitement and passion which effectively draws the audience. From dancing to a remix of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” to having the exclusive members of ReQuest Dance Crew rock the stage, to having a group partner choreography for Miss Elliott’s “Work It”, this performance was ahead of its time and deserved the hype it received. 

Watch the performance here.

Silence - Sean and Kaycee 

I remember seeing both Sean Lew and Kaycee Rice dance on Youtube before seeing them compete together on World of Dance, which felt so new. Their qualifying performance was one of my favorites, and it is a great performance to introduce the dance style of the duo. 

The two dancers begin by dancing with blindfolds on and successfully do the choreography. This intensity requires total trust in yourself and your partner along with controlling your movement and positions. Sean and Kaycee’s choreography had very small meticulous movements which included latching onto each other; for them to successfully perform all of these while blindfolded was totally profound. Later on, Sean removes his blindfolds, making his part a bit easier as he can see where to position himself next to Kaycee. There is then a moment where Sean removes Kaycee’s blindfold, they look at each other smiling, and then continue dancing a lot more freely. 

The storyline was also very clear; to my interpretation, the two seem to be in a blinding disconnection with each other. When they try to approach each other, it would fail and they end up facing opposite directions. They are enduring the difficulties in relationships between two people. When the blindfolds are removed, they face each other while their body language changes immediately, which indicates the resolution of the two. 

Overall, this performance was stellar and perfect to introduce the storytelling and dance style of Sean and Kaycee. Every time I look back on their journey together from World of Dance, this performance always comes to mind. It is amazing. 

Watch the performance here.

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Isis - Bailey and Kida 

Bailey Sok and Kida the Great are each known respectively as individual dancers. Bailey is a member of S-Rank, a dance crew that competed in a previous season of World of Dance, so it was nice to see her on the show again. This was their first time dancing together as a duo for the show so they had to figure out how to compliment each other and get used to dancing together. This performance is proof of their improvement and growth together as a dancing duo. 

They both dance to the multiple beats of the music, so the small nuances in the choreography hitting each sound so carefully is fascinating. It was so satisfying to watch their robotic synchronization and isolations in the routine. tWitch, a guest judge for the show, described them as “architects of sound” as Bailey and Kida accurately created what the music looked like by how they moved. This perfectly describes the performance so I thoroughly agree with that statement. Their musicality was off the charts and the two dancing together was very captivating. 

Watch the performance here.

Decathlon - Quest Crew

I wanted to save this performance as the best for last because it was so legendary and I am always amazed every time I watch it many years later. Quest Crew competed and won the third season of America’s Best Dance Crew in 2008. This performance is, in my opinion, one of their best, not only on the show but perhaps in their entire career as a dance crew. This is historical. 

This performance was done during Week 7 of the show where their challenge was to include hip hop moves such as threading, waving, and tutting. As a dance crew specializing in breakdancing, they have past experiences with most of these moves from Ryanimay’s threading to Hok’s tutting. Combining these moves with their breakdancing stunts resulted in an unmatching performance. They completely nailed their challenge and it was obvious just how dedicated they were to advance into the next week since they were on the Bottom 2. So many things were executed to perfection in this performance. The threading section highlights mostly Ryanimay and Feng and Victor’s focus on balancing on one arm as he does a jumping handstand. The tutting section was so clean and of course, Hok led it; D-Trix was on his elbows for his airflares, Hirano stood up on the human table and ripped his shirt off then proceeded to jump off. Steve ended the performance by flipping back from sitting down with his legs crossed. Each dancer standed out in their own unique way, and were able to make a fierce routine together as a dance crew. It made history on the show and increased their reputation as a dance crew for breakdancing. 

Watch the performance here.

Hello!! I'm a 5th year student at University of California, Irvine majoring in Film and Media Studies and minoring in Global Cultures. My pronouns are she/her. I have a pure love and interest for learning and gaining more knowledge about the world, the good and the bad. My hobbies include listening to music, dancing, and watching films. Becoming a member of HerCampus at UCI, I wish to improve myself personally and professionally in becoming more properly expressive and less afraid to allow my voice to be heard. I'm looking forward to the journey ahead!! :))
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