If you follow MTV’s hit show America’s Best Dance Crew then you’ve experienced the visual pleasure of Phunk Phenomenon. This crew has raw energy, explosiveness, passion, and above all purpose. The Boston, Massachusetts crew is comprised of 7 diverse members; Devin Woolridge, Ja Ja “X-clusive” Leviner, Kassandra Rateau, Trey Rich, Christopher DiNicola, Jean “Bboy Bebo” Lloret, and Dominic Rich.
Phunk Phenomenon is also fighting to raise awareness for Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare disease that is afflicting the son of the crew’s founder back home in Boston. Additionally, The Phunk Crew is on a mission to encourage individuals and communities to raise their unique ‘voices and views’ to create constructive changes personally, locally and globally. Here’s more on the crew….
How & When did Phunk Phenomenon Dance Crew come together?
Phunk Phenomenon was founded by Reia Briggs-Connor and Brian White in the late 90’s. The actual crew that appeared on ABDC was selected out of the larger crew to represent all of our styles. Also the majority of the 7 Dancers have been in Phunk Phenomenon Dance co for several years.
What’s the story behind Hip Hop for Hope?
Our Directors Reia and Rick Connor Have a son who is 6 now who suffers from Sanfilippo Syndrome a disease that effects the Brain and has a life span of only 10-12yrs of age. Hip-Hop for hope is our way to raise awareness and hopefully raise Money for research. Dance especially Hip-hop can be a powerful Tool.
What doors have opened for Phunk Phenomenon since appearing on ABDC Season 6?
Well we now have a Marketing Company helping to get us some great shows and we have been teaching workshops. The exposure of the show helped put us on the Map World wide. We cannot wait to ride this out and see where it takes us and our Mission
Can you talk about the importance of teaching your students the elements & roots of Hip Hop culture, or as you call it “Edutainment?”
Since Phunk was Born our Director has always stuck to the importance of the true essence of the foundation of Hip-Hop. Sometimes Television and comercialism can take away the actual base. It is important to us that we help carry on what the founding Fathers/Mothers of Hip Hop started. Phunk Phenomenon will evolve in new styles but we will also always respect and learn the foundation of the history of Hip-Hop and African dance culture. If we continue to teach this our students will continue and Real Hip-Hop will never get Lost.
What are some of the current projects you’ll are working on? Any scheduled tours?
WE are currently Choreographing for our Jr and Varsity Crews to compete at Hip Hop International. As well as performing locally a medley of our ABDC performances. We are planning out a show with the Entire Phunk company for the Fall and hoping to be on a tour.
As a crew, you’ll have such positive & empowering attitudes along with passion & determination to succeed. How important is it to stay in that frame of mind, regardless of the obstacles and roadblocks that you’ve endured?
It is so important to stay Humble. We have had many roadblocks and we all know that GOD had helped us through it because we have stayed grounded. You can have lots of Highs and Lows as a Crew and we consider every experience good or bad a Blessing either as a lesson or a Gift. Determination, Commitment, and Passion is KEY!!
How is the Hip Hop Dance Scene in Boston?
The Dance scene in Boston is FRESH! The only thing wrong is that the underground scene and Choreo crew/College scene are separated. I wish we could all come together and learn from each other. Phunk Phenomenon has always been a part of both and I think that is why we are so versatile in our Styles .
Does everyone in the crew teach Choreography?
Yes they are a true collaboration always have been. Chris has great ideas and Is very creative at the overall Choreography. The others help by teaching each others styles and making routines to go into the Choreography. Out of many we become one:)
What are some of the daily disciplines and habits required to be a successful Dance Crew?
PRACTICE both individually and as a crew, Commitment, and of course Passion. You have to have the drive to move forward and a vision of where you want to be. Then shoot for the Stars!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Shout outs to our mentors—MEGATRON, SHALLOW, GFX crew, PK, Floor Lords, BRIAN GREEN, BUDDAH STRETCH,STEVE BOLTON,AND the MEGATWINS. Also Thank you to Hip Hop International for helping us to be able to share the stage with so many talented dancers from All over the World.
Thank you Phunk Phenomenon for your contribution to Hip Hop and relentless passion, for creating awareness and change using the art of dance. I wish you much success in all your future endeavours.
To help support & Donate to the cause behind Phunk Phenomenon’s Hip Hop for Hope visit www.jaredsfight.org
Follow Phunk on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Phunkcrew
Make sure to LIKE Phunkcrew Facebook page
If you’re interested in learning Phunk Creweography visit www.phunkphenomenon.com
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” – B.C. FORBES