By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer
A Mukilteo hip-hop dance troupe continues their quest to become “America’s Best Dance Crew” on the seventh season of MTV’s dance equivalent to Fox TV’s singing show, “American Idol.”
Rated Next Generation, or RNG, made it through one elimination round and tonight will compete to stay in for another week. The episode is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. tonight.
“It’s the biggest platform to be on for dance,” said Jennique Derousseau, 15, of Edmonds. “We grew up watching the show. We, like, idolize everyone who’s been on it. It’s super cool to be on the show.”
Four of the seven teens in RNG live in Snohomish County. The group took a break from practice last week to speak to The Herald from Los Angeles, where the show is filmed.
In addition to Jennique, local performers include Anneka Acode, 13 of Lynnwood; Paiton Hamilton, 13 of Mill Creek; and Marina Morga, 14 of Mill Creek.
The troupe’s other participants live within driving distance of the team’s home studio, The Connection Performing Arts Center, a hip-hop dance incubator near Harbour Pointe.
Kolanie Marks is the team’s choreographer.
The dance style is an evolution of break dancing, highly synchronized moves that are rapid, explosive and expressive.
In their show debut last week, RNG impressed the celebrity judges dancing to Flo Rida’s “Right Round.”
“Something really dangerous happens when you pick up, OK, because you are a very precise group,” judge Lil Mama said. “You guys hit very hard. You pop.”
Tonight’s dance competition will gyrate to the music of Madonna. It’s very different, Anneka said.
“This dance is girlier. It has a lot more character,” she said.
The girls started dancing together at the studio three years ago. They won U.S. first place at the 2009 Hip Hop International dance championship. From there, they went on to perform on “The Rachael Ray Show” and “America’s Got Talent.”
They’ve also added two more dancers, including Bailey Anderson, 15, the group’s only boy.
Judges last week were impressed by the group’s maturity. RNG is among the youngest dance troupes to compete on the MTV show, now in its seventh season.
“I was blown away,” Flo Rida said.
Judge JC Chasez, one of the ‘N Sync boys, said RNG’s stage presence feels bolder and more informed than their ages.
“The minute you start dancing you grow about four years,” he said.
While RNG still is in the competition, the group is living in Los Angeles, doing school work remotely. All free time is devoted to dance practice.
“We’re just rehearsing a lot, staying focused,” Jennique said.
Success seems inevitable for the crew. They have roles in “Battlefield America,” an upcoming feature film about street-level, teenaged hip-hop dancers. The movie is scheduled to be released June 1.
Already, RNG is working on booking new jobs and keeping the dancing alive.
The kids offered thanks to friends, family and the community for “always having our back,” Jennique said.
“After this, we really want to stay relevant,” she said.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch RNG on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew”
“America’s Best Dance Crew” is scheduled to air at 10 tonight on MTV.
For more information about Rated Next Generation, go to: facebook.com/RNGDancers.