‘The Jabbawockeez present MUS.I.C.’: Opening the doors to dance ... in Las Vegas?

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The evolution of Las Vegas and the evolution of urban dance collide in ‘The Jabbawockeez Present: MUS.I.C.’ (muse I see) at the Hollywood Theater of the MGM Grand hotel.

[UPDATE: The show is extended from June 17 - June 23, though it was earlier said to be from June 6 - June 13.] Originally slated to run for three weeks from May 7 - May 26, the show has sold out most of its performances and has done so well that the hotel has slated another week, June 17 - June 23, for the crew to return.


The Jabbawockeez, the first winners of MTV’s ‘Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew,’ created a 90-minute show that stylistically ranges from contemporary hip-hop to a ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ number. Crew member Ryan ‘Kid Rainen’ Paguio believes that The Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil excelled in Las Vegas and beyond because they were ‘different.’ The success of the MUS.I.C. event, though, may not be just because it’s different, but could be due to the genre’s surging popularity. Dance’s domination of pop culture -- ‘Dancing With the Stars’ has even beaten the mighty ‘American Idol’ in ratings this year -- could open up other avenues for dancers and even start a bit of a Vegas trend.

Whether you’ve seen them in one of their many appearances on ‘ABDC’ or on tour, the live Jabbawockeez’s stage presentation is entertaining. Like so many Vegas shows, they engage the audience even before the show starts, with one member sweeping up the stage and walking throughout the Hollywood Theater. The atmosphere during the opening night saw kids walking around in Jabbawockeez masks and celebrities such as Sean Paul and Wayne Brady taking in the performance. The main through-line for the show concerns the guy sweeping the stage and his attempts to fit in with and become a Jabbawockee. There are many vignettes told through dance episodes that range from the Jabbawockeez’s original hip hop-inspired music by the Bangerz to a historical section featuring James Brown and Michael Jackson tunes to a section set to U2. With colorful, and sometimes brightly lit, costumes from fellow reality show participant Kara Saun (‘Project Runway’), the Jabbawockeez use the stage well.

With the masks on, you can only differentiate members if you know their dance styles, so Paguio, Benjamin Chung, Jeffrey Nguyen, Philippe Tayag, Christopher Gatdula, Joseph Larot and Kevin Brewer merge well, which has always been the purpose of the masks. Four members of Super Cr3w, Season 2 winner on ‘America’s Best Dance Crew,’ joined their predecessors onstage during many of the numbers. Abenamar Honrubia, Rock Gallego, Jonathan Cruz and Ronnie Abaldonado melded seamlessly, in part due to being masked as well, but no doubt owing to some directing/choreography help from Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo. The duo are also choreography pros on ‘ABDC’ and ‘DWTS’ as well.

And the whole thing comes full circle. Popular dance crews -- Fanny Pak, The Beat Freaks and Season 3 winners Quest Crew -- got their share of attention just being on the sidelines at the show’s premiere, and undoubtedly other dancers were in attendance, salivating at the opportunity MUS.I.C. seems to represent. Maybe other hotels will take notice.

Here’s the Jabbawockeez after the show, courtesy of Pacific Rim Video:

-- Jevon Phillips, reporting from Las Vegas

More coverage of ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’