So I discovered two loves this year... my love of toy robots (as expressed in the form of O'BOTS) and dance... Ok, I've loved dance before this year but have recently embraced the activity as something that I would actually do as opposed to just watch. Anyway, who knew that I would be able to celebrate my love of dance and robots in one shot?
A little background... I am a HUGE fan of the dance competition, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). Each year, I am blown away by the talent and the passion of the dancers and choreographers, from the auditions all the way through to the finale. Each year, a "favorite" emerges earlier and earlier for me as the show is amazing at capturing the personal stories of the dancers.
My initial favorite was Hampton "Xcercist" Williams. I've probably contributed about 1,000 of the views on his audition on YouTube. After he graciously bowed out of the competition, I turned to the Dragon House Crew... three gentleman who showcased their dub steppin' animatin' talents at the Atlanta auditions... Boris "Top Knoch" Penton, Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer & Andre "Androiid" Rucker.
Prior to viewing Dragon House's audition, I wouldn't have considered myself a fan of this robotic style of dance. Consider me a convert now... But it wasn't just the dancing that won me over. It was their spirit... the care they expressed for each other... At one point, after one dancer was eliminated after a group performance, Cyrus was visibly affected and expressed that if he had worked a little bit harder, maybe all of them would have made it to the next round.
Of the three Dragon House members, Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer made it to the Top 20, but not without a lot of sweat and tears. After underperforming during a ballroom routine, Glitch was asked by the judges to "dance for his life" in order to continue through to the next round.
I was blown away by Cyrus' confidence... and humility. Here are just a few snippets of his interview, before and after he had to dance for his life that resonated with me:
- "I get to be myself 100%. There's no better feeling than being myself. I cannot wait to show... what I got."
- "I got something the world needs to see."
- "I need to go ahead and step my game up... Apparently there's another level of hard that I ain't working and I need to get there."
New York writer (and former dancer), Tamsin Silver summarized Cyrus' trajectory on the show nicely in her blog... In summary, it's the way he dances, his passion and commitment to each new dance and the way he hugs his friends after they've been eliminated from the show. That can't be taught. He is not performing for the cameras. He is just being himself.
Another supporter, Sanlin, captured Cyrus' appeal succintly in a tweet:
Just watch some of Cyrus' performances (and his progression) in group routines and while partnered with fellow contestant Eliana, all-stars Jaime, Melanie, Comfort and Twitch and choreographer, Christopher Scott:
- Top 20 "Office" Group Routine by Christopher Scott: YouTube
- Top 20 "Beautiful People" Group Routine by Nappy Tabs: YouTube
- Eliana & Cyrus: Jive Routine by Melanie and Tony: YouTube
- Eliana & Cyrus: "Robot Ballerina" Hip Hop Routine by Nappy Tabs: YouTube (Yes, a robotic ballerina on a music box wound up by a robotic Cyrus...)
- Eliana & Cyrus: Broadway Routine by Tyce Diorio: YouTube
- Eliana & Cyrus: "Door" Routine by Mia Michaels: YouTube
- Jaime & Cyrus: Contemporary Routine by Travis Wall: YouTube
- Melanie & Cyrus: Jazz Routine by Mandy Moore: YouTube
- Comfort & Cyrus: Cinema Dubstep Routine by Christopher Scott: YouTube
- Twitch & Glitch: Animation Routine by Christopher Scott: YouTube
- Comfort, Twitch, Glitch & Christopher Scott: Card Game Hip Hop Routine: YouTube
Now it should all make sense... I heart robots and I heart dance...and I heart Glitch and his friends. So, we present to you Dragon House... o'botified... (The roster has changed a bit, but at the start of this project, there were a total of 24 members! (h/t Baby T!)).
One of the latest Dragon House o'botifications was the three-person dance crew Remote Kontrol...
Not just because of their unique look, but also because one of the member's handles is "Chibi..."and one of their members was born in Korea... [An nyoung ha seh yo iGlide!]... and the third member, Nonstop, was a guest on the show of one of my favorite comedians...
And it looks like it's not just us grown folks who have been inspired by Dragon House... Check out 2 year old Bebe showing off her Androiid & Chibi-inspired dance moves... If Dragon House had honorary members, Bebe would be the first. I love how she is wearing her dress backwards and just goes for her snack at the conclusion of her dance.
Dancing robots... Who knew this would develop into a theme...?
Our history with dancing robots began in early spring with a development clip from our first O'BOT video, featuring the animated Bed-Stuy Belle...
Who knows what the final clip will look like... Yes... I am geeking out...
I'll be following Cyrus (and his dance partner Eliana) on twitter via @Dance9Cyrus & @TheDragonHouse. Maybe I'll catch you on the #TeamGlitch or #TeamCyrus hashtag...or my personal favorite, #weinthisglitch.
Thank you, Cyrus, Dragon House and SYTYCD, for the reminder to follow your bliss!
Thanks for reading!
~ Onjena Yo
P.S. Kilroy III, sent me this screen shot from one of the more recent SYTYCD episodes... Do you see what I see in the sign held by Cyrus' family...? Whaaa? I can see a line of toy robots based on Cyrus and the other Dragon House members... Ok... Now I've officially geeked out... lol.
P.P.S. In response to Nigel Lythgoe's "nondancer" comment to Cyrus after his and Twitch's performance in the finale:
"Cyrus is a "nondancer" in that he removes his body as an obstacle so that he can express pure art."
~ Grey Williamson
Featuring art & imagery of Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer & Nigel Lythgoe.
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