You probably know the JabbaWockeeZ as the season one winners of "America's Best Dance Crew." Since then, this group of 7 guys has kept busy, appearing as guest performers on "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance" and touring with New Kids on the Block and the Jonas Brothers. Their theatrical style, emphasized by white gloves and masks, is best experienced live--and now's your chance. The JabbaWockeeZ' full-length show, MÜS.I.C. (pronounced muse-eye-see), opens tonight for a 20-day run at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. DS spoke with crew member Jeff "Phi" Nguyen about the JabbaWockeeZ newest endeavor.
Dance Spirit: The show is described as the "story of inspiration." What's the narrative you tell?
Phi: It's the story of our group. You learn where we came from and what got us to where we are today. It's portrayed through dance and music, and we incorporate bits of narration. There's also a light in the show that represents our friend Gary [Kendall, a crew member who passed away in 2007]. He was a major influence on our group: In MÜS.I.C., that light floats around so that he's a character throughout the whole show.
DS: How did you come up with the idea for the show?
Phi: We wanted to show our muse. Music is a huge part of what we do. It inspires us.
DS: What sort of music will audience hear in MÜS.I.C.?
Phi: It's an eclectic mix. There are a lot of DJ mixes, but we also use "Hotel California" by The Eagles and Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." We chose anything that made us move. If you're a fan of music--from hip hop to classic rock--you'll be a fan of the show.
DS: What sorts of audio-visual effects are used?
Phi: It's a conglomerate of Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group and traditional street dance crew freestyling. There will also be videos and little acting skits that will help tell our story.
DS: How is MÜS.I.C. different from the JabbaWockeeZ' previous work?
Phi: It's different because it's all our show. It's not someone telling us what to do, giving us specific songs to work with or a challenge to fulfill. We have 90 minutes to express what we've gone through. Hopefully the audience will be able to relate to us through our music and dance.
DS: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
Phi: There's a Michael Jackson skit, a tribute to the Jackson 5. I grew up listening to them so, for me, that's my favorite part. It's just a fun number--we throw on some Afros and get down!
Photo courtesy JBWKZ