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."
(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.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Dancers are naturally "in their heads" all the time—but not always in productive ways. Long days of receiving and applying corrections, taking class, and performing can get to even the most composed individuals. What should you do when you feel like your mind is just as busy as your rehearsal schedule? Try meditation. Dance Spirit turned to Adreanna Limbach, a head teacher at NYC-based meditation studio MNDFL, for a breakdown of this highly beneficial practice.
Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.