Get to Know D-Real from MTV’s "World of Jenks"

D-Real (Photo ©2013 Viacom International Inc.)

On the second season of the documentary TV show "World of Jenks," premiering tonight on MTV, filmmaker Andrew Jenks shadows three inspirational young people for 10 episodes. We’re most intrigued by 21-year-old street dancer D-Real. From one of the most violent cities in America—Oakland, CA—D-Real has used dance to overcome many tragedies, including the deaths of two of his brothers. Here, Dance Spirit talks with D-Real about his experience on the show.

Dance Spirit: Tell us about when Jenks first contacted you about the show.

D-Real: It was one of those phone calls you wait for. As a struggling artist, I’ve always hoped someone would see my story. When I got the call, I just started dancing, gliding around the room while I was on the phone. My family was shocked when I told them about being on "World of Jenks." They'll finally get to see I’m helping out my community and doing a lot of good.

DS: What was the first day of filming like?

DR: I wasn’t nervous, but I was overwhelmed. Where I come from, when you see cameras on the street, it’s always because they're doing a newscast. So I was surprised at all the things that go into taping a show—things you don’t see on TV. I remember thinking, “This is amazing, but I wish my partner, my brother, were here.” He’s the reason I know I should be dancing.

DS: What was it like to work with Jenks?

DR: He’s a really smart, cool dude. The wisdom he gave me was just what I needed. He’s from a different world than I am, so when we exchanged ideas, it made me see things from a new perspective.

DS: What message do you want to get across to viewers?

DR: I want people to know that there’s no obstacle you can’t overcome. Dancing is one of the hardest fields to be in, but now that I’m on the show, I feel like I’ve made it. I’ve been homeless, and I’ve lost brothers and cousins. But what I’m doing now is becoming a better man for my kid, my fiancée and myself.

Tune in tonight at 11 pm EST for the season premiere of "World of Jenks."

Latest Posts


Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search