Ariah Tsukada-Aka has known she wanted to join the Jabbawockeez since she was 3, when she first saw the group on “America’s Best Dance Crew” Season 1. She began studying their YouTube videos and experimenting with their movement style. At 5, she got her big break: Crew member Kevin Brewer invited her to perform on the “ABDC” Season 6 finale after meeting her at Tunay Ink Dance Studios in Las Vegas, NV. Brewer was taken by Ariah’s ability to mimic the Jabbawockeez’ signature style of popping, and Ariah became known as Little Babywockee. Now 9, she’s kept the hip-hop dream alive, training on her own in California—with occasional lessons from Brewer, Popping John, Poreotics’ Dumbo and Kaba Modern’s Mike Song—and battling it out across L.A. and Las Vegas.
"At the end of my first performance with the Jabbawockeez on ‘ABDC,’ it was so exciting to take off my mask and show the world I was a part of the crew."
Birthday: May 5, 2005
Hometown: “I’m from Honolulu, but now I live in Orange County.”
What she’s listening to right now: “Timber,” by Kesha
Favorite food: chicken wings
Hidden talent: “I beat-box and rap.”
Performer she’d love to work with: Justin Bieber
Pre-show routine: “I jump up and down with my parents and eat chocolate to get excited!”
Favorite hip-hop styles: Popping, robotics, krumping, isolations, house dance and locking
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:
vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.