theTOUR “Community” commercial: San Diego Edition

This video has much more meaning to it than what you see at first glance.  In that night that we put this together, there was more than the 5 hours of rehearsal, the choreography we had to learn, or the character we had to portray.  The meaning goes much deeper.  I’m writing this blog, to share with you what it was.

Let me take you back to the Southern California dance community before the Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, or any social networking days.  Where the only way to watch each other was being at the actual show, or watching it on DVD.  For any dancers that was around that time, they can tell you that they have a collection of DVD’s or even VHS from several of the shows.  Here was where you saw amazing teams like Culture Shock San Diego, Urban FX, Funkanometry LA, Unity, even before the Jabbawockeez were called Jabbawockeez, they were Mindtricks, and several others.  All great memories for those who were a part of that era, and great history to learn about for those who are a part of this current era.  

I can go on and on about this, but I’d like to dive into the San Diego dance community.  To me, San Diego has been a vital life line to our dance community.  Many of the styles, and creativity that you see today stem from SD’s past.  I’m sure many who were a part of the past generation and the current generation can agree.  As you saw in the commercial there were 2 people that walk out in the beginning.  One named KJ Gonzales and the other Anna Sarao.  You probably had no idea who they were or are a bit confused on what was going on.  

Anna, as most of us that know her will say, is the “Yoda” of our dance community.  She was artistic director for Culture Shock San Diego for a period of time and really changed the game with what she did with them.  They had such an all-star group of dancers and had several Jabbawockee members as well.  Today she still is very involved with our dance community, judging several of the dance competitions that you know about today.  She also is the co-creator of BODY ROCK.  

KJ, is a complete innovator of his time in the dance community and is a huge inspiration for some of the “new” styles that you see today.  He was artistic director for Urban FX(San Diego) and they completely affected the way people performed, choreographed, dressed, what songs they danced to, etc.  KJ’s energy, power, speed, and performance changed the game and it still shows in dancers’ work today.  He was my first dance teacher and mentor, and many of us today have learned so much from him.  Today he no longer dances, and is currently happily married(living like an old man :) ).

Several of the pieces that they created inspired me to start dancing and did so for many of the well known names that you hear about today.

Going back to the commercial you will notice they start by watching old videos of CSSD and UFX.  Then it transitions into current SD teams watching newer videos of Choreo Cookies, 220, and Super Galactic Beat Manipulators.  An intro to sort of pay homage to our past and how much they’ve influenced us, and a moment to be grateful for where we currently are.

Which brings me to my next point…

In our current day and age we have all the instant access you can ask for.  The ability to know what ones doing, where they are(scary), and, in the dance world, what all the latest dance craze is.  All this is available in the click of a mouse, trackpad, or touch of the finger.  Yet there still resides studio rivalry, unhealthy competition, a huge amount of individualism and more.  Some people are so focused on being the next big name, being the next big choreographer, or even the next big crew, when the word “community” is slowly drifting away.  Even today when I perform at a show or event in our California dance community I barely know any of the dancers that we share the stage with, when in the past everyone knew each other and it would feel more like a reunion.  Our current generation has so many resources that we have yet to tap into the best of it to benefit each other.  

In this commercial the part of the San Diego community came together on a scale like this for the first time.  The first time! And we’ve been around for MANY years.  Even though the scale felt large for us it is still small compared to how many of us dancers are in San Diego, let alone the world.  To me that night was even more special because as I looked around the room it wasn’t “big name” dancers that filled the room, or even people that have dance as a career.  It was ordinary people that have school, work, families, children, and more.  It showed that you don’t have to be the biggest name to make the biggest impact.  There’s power in numbers.  If we can come together studio by studio… team by team… city by city… then there’s no telling what can happen when we get to country by country, continent by continent, and planet by planet(haha kidding). 

In all seriousness that night did something very special for us and I’d like to challenge YOU to do the same for your community so OUR community will only benefit.  You don’t have to be famous or even have to have dance as something you’re pursuing. You just need each other. Whether that’s representing your city and coming to the mLtour, sessioning, or just taking class it all is effective. The SD dance community came together to make this commercial happen, imagine what can happen if yours does too!

 As said in this famous Henry Ford quote;

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."

Let’s come together and do exactly what the word “community” says… come unite.

Thanks for taking the time to get this far into my blog.  I know it’s long(I tried to make it as short as possible), but I hope you feel any type of motivation after reading this.  I’m sure I’ll see you somewhere along the journey :)



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