Mukilteo dance crew returns to reality television
The dance crew Rated Next Generation is back on reality television – this time in the ultimate challenge of dance supremacy on “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
The Mukilteo-based hip-hop crew – made up of seven kids ages 13-15 – is competing on the popular reality TV show, which premieres April 11.
This season of “ABDC” is themed “Return of the Superstars,” and features the music of some of the hottest names in the industry, including Madonna, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Pitbull, David Guetta, Flo Rida and LMFAO.
Each episode will be themed to a different music celebrity, and dance crews will be forced to push themselves to choreograph performances inspired by the music and persona of the artist of the week.
“We don’t really do the music that they do on the show regularly, so I think all of them (the weeks) are going to be a challenge,” said Erin Anderson. “We’re just excited because it’s all out of our element. We want to challenge ourselves.”
The judges – celebrities JC Chasez, Lil Mama and D-Trix – and a voting America will get to decide if RNG beats out the other Top 10 dance crews from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“We wanted to make it so badly, because it’s like the biggest platform for dancers,” Anderson said. “We grew up watching it. The first season had the Jabbawockeez, who are amazing performers, and now they’re so well known.”
The two crews with the least number of votes will be up for elimination, with the judges making the final call on which crew will be sent home. One crew will be eliminated each week.
For every episode they’re on, RNG will have about a week to develop and learn their choreography to a song by the artist of the week. They’ll need to pop, jump, sway, stomp and step their way to the top.
“We’re just going to try our hardest to put together what we can and make it fit the song and fit the artist,” Jennique Derousseau said. “It will push us to be better dancers.”
The winner of “ABDC” receives the show title and a $100,000 cash prize.
The episodes air at 10 p.m. Pacific Time Wednesdays on MTV. They are recorded at the Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, Calif.
RNG auditioned for the show in Houston on Jan. 15. This was only the second time kids under 18 were allowed to audition.
“I was really excited – the whole team was,” Bailey Anderson said. “We were so in awe from the news, and we were just screaming. I was a little girl for five seconds.”
The crew had auditioned for “ABDC” last season. That time, they made it only to call backs.
“The kids grew up idolizing the dancers and even taking classes from previous crews that have been on the show,” said Suzanne Acode, co-owner of The Connection Performing Arts Center in Mukilteo where RNG trains. “For them to be a part of the show now is just a huge, huge deal.”
RNG consists of Paiton Hamilton, 13, Alexandria Porter, 13, Aneeka Acode, 13, Marina Morga, 14, Erin Anderson, 15, Bailey Anderson, 15, and Jennique Derousseau, 15.
RNG was featured on the show “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. They performed in four episodes, including the Wild Card episode where acts returned for a second chance.
They said that experience helped them know what to expect and prepare mentally and physically for in the “ABDC” show.
Alexandria and Bailey joined RNG in 2011. This is their first time on TV.
“I’m really excited to meet all the crews and to learn about all the artists that we’re about to dance to and to just take in the experience,” Bailey said.
“And being on TV, most importantly. I am so excited [to be on TV]. I can’t even describe how excited I am.”
In 2009, choreographer Kolanie Marks, co-founder and director of the dance company Physical Graffiti, recruited the kids to form RNG.
Marks saw their potential. The original five had placed seventh in Hip Hop International’s 2008 U.S. Hip Hop Dance Championships as dancers in the kid crew Rated PG, and he knew that with advanced training, they could do even better.
And they did. As RNG, they returned to HHI in 2009 and placed first in United States and sixth in the world.