Monster of Hip Hop LA Show!

If “The Monsters Show” is any indication of the future of dance, we’ve got a lot to look forward to! Set in the year 2309, this year’s Monsters of Hip-Hop scholarship extravaganza took place last weekend at North Hollywood’s El Portal Theater—and featured a full-on “fleet” of the hottest rising talent in hip-hop dance. Directed and written by Rhapsody James (creator of the hot street jazz group Rhapsody: The Company) and Tony Testa (dancer for both Michael and Janet, mmm-kay?), the show featured funky futuristic lighting and costumes (from blinking Devo-esque sunglasses to black-lit gloves) and hard-hitting moves by choreographers like Tabitha & Napoleon, Rhapsody, Luam and Chonique & Lisette. The Monsters of Contemporary crew also made their debut as a cap-off to MOH’s exciting first year of branching out into a new genre.

So how did the lucky 20 scholarship students from MOH and MOC find themselves dancing on a sold-out LA stage? According to founder Andy Funk, it’s no easy feat. After being specially selected from conventions on the 15-city tour (including Cancun and Auckland, New Zealand!), the scholarship recipients come to LA on their own dime and spend two weeks preparing for the big show. “It’s probably some of the most intense training they’ll ever endure,” says Andy, adding that it’s not unusual for rehearsals to go from 9 am until midnight. “The amazing thing is that many dancers come to six or eight cities on the tour just for a chance to be selected as a finalist for the show.”

Though the scholarship students killed it, my fave parts of the whole show were the guest appearances by the Beat Freaks and Quest Crew (from “ABDC,” natch). I was absolutely blown away by Dominic’s elbow spins and the QC’s fouettes-into-handspins sequence. Those boys have stage presence for days! Although they best be on the lookout—as there are some talented “Monsters” hot on their trail. Past MOH alumni have gone on to appear in projects like “Hairspray,” “Fame,” the “Step Up” trilogy, and in shows with artists like Janet, Britney, Miley, and Mariah. We can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for this year’s cast!

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then 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.

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