Jabbawockeez, Ben Chung and America's Best Dance Crew

America's Best Dance Crew is back after 5 years of absence and it inspired to make a come back to my unfortunately abandoned blog. I am not a dancer. Although I can certainly move to the groove I am far from being graceful. It is, however, ABDC that inspired my appreciation of hiphop as a dance.

Season 8 brings together the past champions from almost every season including Super Cr3w, Quest Crew, Elektrolytes, I Am Me, And We Are Heroes. Kinjaz is the 6th group composed of different choreographers in the industry including a Jabbawockeez, Ben Chung. From a marketing perspective, there is no better way to bring back a TV show but to pull in marketing aces they have in every season. After all, most, if not all, of these groups have developed a loyal following brought about by their success after their ABDC stint. There are a few, however, who are not as successful but that is a marketing tool in itself.

This season is a restart both for ABDC and to many of the crews and that's why I find it specifically interesting.

The Epic Jabbawockeez

Season 1 of ABDC declared Jabbawockeez the champion and the group has since become the most commercially successful dance crew ABDC has produced. They have a 5-year old show in Vegas that shows no sign of stopping and they often tour the world for worskshops and shows. They have their own label and their own clothing line. More importantly, they own themselves.

I saw their show in Vegas a year and a half ago. A review of that will be posted soon. Coming to their show was nostalgic for me. They don't know me but having seen them in season 1 of ABDC where they hardly had any budget for costumes to having their own stage in Vegas makes me feel like I was, in some way, a part of their journey.

Most of them are married with kids if not all. I still watch their appearances and interviews and it never fails to amaze me just how much more confident they have become. The dorky hopeful boys of ABDC Season 1 have remained dorky but they are now confident dorks. They do silly things because they are having fun, not because they are awkward. I guess real success brings real confidence.

Their success is nothing short of epic. They were just another hiphop crew from California that people thought would make a living by being back up dancers or, at best, choreographers of the stars. Nobody thought they would become the stars. Sure, they aren't walking the Oscar red carpet but they sure as hell paving the way so that others who will dare try will have an easier time. Besides, who knows? They might just get there. After all, they are still relatively young. They have a good ten years of actively dancing on stage. Maybe 20. Jabbawockeez has always defied the odds.

I guess that's why they have been successful. They dare... they try... despite the odds. As we all know, getting things done starts with trying.

Ben Chung Does the Unthinkable

Ben Chung announced he is parting ways with Jabbawockeez months ago. Whether that means he is quitting the dance part but remains a partner in the bussiness or he has totally given up all of his Jabbawockeez interest is not clear. However, it does make me feel a little sentimental.

Ben Chung with his new crew, Kinjaz

I have always thought he will close the curtains with the whole group. After all, it is rare for a hiphop dance crew to have this level of success. There isn't a hiphop crew who has successfully launched their own franchise since Jabba. Ben Chung must have felt the possibilities weigh more than his present actuality because he decided to pursue another path. He left Prism and possibly Jabbawockeez. His dreams changed and he felt the only way he can pursue that is by leaving what he calls his family.

It just hit me though why I feel a certain interest in Jabbawockeez. Their journey has been much like mine. I have always been "one of the" when I was growing up and nobody bet on me. Somehow, however, I've fulfilled my dreams with the help of friends and family. Most of these family members and friends are settled and happy but I  am out here pursuing a dream I don't need.

This dream is reigniting my love for writing, forcing me to appreciate things I used to take for granted and changing my bad habits that have pulled my writing career progress to a halt. I have been complacent that I allowed the fire of my love for writing to die down.

Ben is now part of Kinjaz, an all star crew that is competing in ABDC. The whole of Jabbawockeez has been relentless in their support of him. I have no idea whether he will win but I have a feeling his decision to join ABDC is not hinged on winning. It is more about solidifying his identity outside of the mask. Although he will always be a part of the "Jabba fam", he also wants to be whole even without the season 1 winners beside him.

"Fortes en Liber"

It reminds me that it is not easy to leave a life of comfort and delve into what is uncertain. There is always the risk of failure but Ben Chung is willing to risk it in front if the whole world, I certainly can do it too. Who the hell cares even if I fail? He has more at stake than I do.

I will forever consider him a Jabba but I also wish for his success in this new journey. Of all the groups in this season of ABDC, I feel he is the person that represents what this season is all about because he is the one who needs it the least. He is a Jabba, the most successful crew in the history is ABDC. Yet, he is back to where he started and he is giving it his all.


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