The first four seasons of MTV’s hit show “America’s Best Dance Crew” featured exactly zero Atlanta-based crews. That has been similar to the drought on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
But for local hoofers, things are looking up. Tonight, during the regionals of the fifth season debut of “America’s Best Dance Crew,” three Atlanta dance groups will be featured out of five Southern groups.
And since three of those five will make it to the finals, that means at least one local group will finally represent the ATL on the show, which is hosted by Mario Lopez and produced by “Idol” judge Randy Jackson.
Here are the summaries of each of the three groups, courtesy of MTV:
Jungle Boogie (Stone Mountain, GA): These dancers (above) pride themselves on their southern “Cranking” style and are on a mission to become kings of the dance jungle. “Cranking” uses big step movements and arms to cover the entire dance floor and each of the six members has a unique animalistic move to wow this year’s competition.
Royal Flush (Atlanta, GA): This crew has auditioned every season and their refusal to give up has finally paid off. Changing members after each audition, the crew believes it finally has the dream team it needs for success. Educated on the streets, this diverse crew’s styles include krumping, tutting, popping, breaking and even a hint of salsa. They do not claim to be “professionally trained dancers,” leading to difficulties in finding work in the dance industry. “ABDC” is finally offering them something no one else would: the opportunity to be champions.
Swagger Crew (Atlanta, GA): Tired of trendy club dances, this brash Atlanta crew feels its time to put true Southern street dancing on the map. These confident dancers are fired up by the complete absence of Atlanta crews represented on past seasons of “ABDC” and know they have what it takes to put Atlanta on the map. With a combination of southern cockiness, fast footwork and determination this crew is ready to bring some raw swagger to the “ABDC” legacy.
I interviewed a member of each group. They all know each other and profess respect for each other. Here’s a summary:
Tyrone “Neyon” Foster, part of Royal Flush
Group makeup: six guys, one gal
Props: Given the name of the group, they use props like poker chips and playing cards.
On being Southern: “It used to be just the East and the West. We are trying to bring the South in this, too.”
Training: “We’re not studio-trained dancers. We were not brought up in studios.” The group drives around and trains in front of the glass of office buildings or anywhere they can see themselves.
Goal: To make enough money to open their own studio and help inspire other kids to learn dance.
Jason Croom, Swagger Crew
Group: five guys, one gal, all working dancers
Home studio: Gotta Dance off Howell Mill Road
Influence of the show: “Dancing is deemed more accepted. It’s really a blessing. Even before this show, we get calls to do a Sweet 16 party or a corporate function. Before, we didn’t have this avenue.”
Improving: He says the group tried out three times before making it this far, taking the judges’ critiques each time.
Raqi (pronounced Rocky) Carter, Jungle Boogie
Group: five guys, one girl
Home studios: Glass Slipper Dance Studio, Dance 411
Why cranking?: “It’s a raw street dance. We all have our individual styles but collectively, this is the style we want to put to the forefront. It’s never been featured on ABDC. Nobody has seen it.”
“Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew,” Thursdays, 10 p.m.