Two local dancers prove their moves and find summer success on national TV
» Eliminated dancer gets a second chance
Now that Cara Horibe and her fellow dancers in Fanny Pack have made it to the Top 6 on MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," the workload has escalated.
"It's really tough right now because all the crews that are left are really good," Horibe said from Los Angeles, where her life revolves around rehearsals and tapings. For the most part, they remain sequestered in the hotel, and MTV officials confiscate their cell phones before taping each show until after it airs to prevent results from leaking.
COURTESY RUSSELL TANOUE
If Cara Horibe and her dance crew survive this week, they could be headed for a national tour.
Horibe is one of two dancers from Hawaii to burst onto the national scene this summer, and both have proved themselves talented enough to endure brutal elimination rounds with harsh judges and even more demanding fans.
As of this week, Castle High School graduate Mark Kanemura has cracked the Top 10 on Season 4 of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," and fellow Castle graduate Horibe just needs to survive one more round of the second season of "America's Best Dance Crew" before she gets a shot at a national tour.
Horibe says rehearsals start daily at about 8 a.m. and sometimes go until 2 a.m. "We squeeze in our naps when we can. It's what we love to do." If they can't find rehearsal space, they practice in the hotel lobby - anywhere they can see their reflections. And to perfect every detail, they tape rehearsals and watch the playback in slow motion. In the Janet Jackson tribute this week, dancers are preparing an additional surprise: one huge number combining all the competing crews.
Fanny Pack's position looked precarious at one point, but a crisp and highly entertaining performance last week exceeded the demands of the "speed-up challenge," in which a slow song quickly shifted tempo, and judges determined how well crews could adjust and stay on the beat.
Their wild interpretation of a prom night gone wrong because the punch was poisoned earned rave reviews. One judge said Fanny Pack was his favorite group because they "do a bunch of crazy stuff, and it all makes sense." Other compliments revolved around creative use of props, ripping "the fast section better than everyone" and remaining "so underestimated."
Horibe, 24, has been living and working in Los Angeles for two years, which is how she met the other dancers in Fanny Pack - most of whom are from the L.A. area. Surviving the highly competitive dance scene there has helped Fanny Pack learn to produce numbers quickly. "You have to work fast," Horibe explained, "and we have some leverage on that. Our crew usually gets our numbers done first."
Kanemura, meanwhile, exhibited some fancy footwork in a dazzling salsa last week, and talked about how strenuous certain aspects of the routines can be. Though he grew up in musical theater and studied modern dance, ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and even hula, some of the lifts push him outside his comfort zone. "If I don't get it right," he said during a rehearsal segment on the show, (dance partner) Chelsie could totally do a face plant on the floor."
Crowd favorite Kanemura, 24, faced a bit of criticism when the judges commented on his need to relax and generate more rhythm. But judge Mia Michaels told him that despite some awkward moments, "You're more than a dancer. You're a star. You're an actor, and you take every character that's given to you and you own it."
In Season 3 of "So You Think You Can Dance," winners earned $250,000, and the Top 10 finalists toured the country. So making it to this point is certain to change Kanemura's future. "It's definitely been a lot harder than I ever, ever would have anticipated," Kanemura said when he started with the show last month. "I think my body is in shock. I'm literally bleeding for the love of dance."
Horibe seems equally exhausted and thrilled. "I honestly didn't expect to come this far," she said. "Hopefully this will open up more networking for jobs. Doing a tour would be ideal for me - to be able to travel and dance."