The recession hit just as I was about to graduate from college.
Already having chosen to dedicate my life to an unstable career (in writing and entertainment), I was unprepared for my road to employment to get even tougher.
Our Summer 2010 issue is out! Here’s a sneak preview of all the good stuff inside!
From Subculture to Popular Culture: The New Rhythm Nation
Story by Teena Apeles
Millions of people are embracing Asian American dancers in a way like never before, as numerous groups and individuals are making their mark in the industry as bona fide stars, renowned choreographer and leading innovators.
The hit television shows America’s Best Dance Crew and Dancing with the Stars have helped propel such crews as the Jabbawockeez, Kaba Modern, Quest Crew and Poreotix into the spotlight, and rewarded the undeniable grace of Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi and Apolo Ohno off the ice. Asian American dancers and performers have also been seen in prominent roles on the big screen in Take the Lead and Step Up 2, as well as the upcoming sci-fi dance film Boogie Town.
Arnel Calvario, founder of Kaba Modern, couldn’t be more pleased by the visibility Asian American dancers have today. During the ’80s and early ’90s you could pretty much count on one hand the number of Asian American dancers appearing in mainstream media. He mentions Nia Peeples from Fame and then-unknown Carrie Ann Inaba as one of the Fly Girls on In Living Color.
It’s not that Asian Americans weren’t actively involved in the dance scene then. “Asian Americans had such a strong presence in underground street dance,” adds Calvario, “with so many poppin’ and breakin’ crews comprised of many Filipinos and other Asian ethnicities since back in the ’70s and ’80s.” But as far as the average American was concerned, there was no such thing as an Asian American urban dance culture, and in a sense that was true.
Before Calvario started Kaba Modern at the University of California, Irvine in 1992, formalized Asian American college crews didn’t exist. “Other Southern California college dance companies such as PacModern, Team Millennia and CADC popped up years later,” he says. “Culture Shock as a national dance organization was growing, and there were several other notable crews such as Jedi and Chain Reaction up in Northern California.”
This movement continued to thrive as more crews started to form, develop their choreography and showcase their dancing prowess at competitions throughout the country.
To catch the entire article, featuring interviews with Ben “B-Tek” Chung of the Jabbawockeez, Mike Song and Arnel Calvario of ABDC runner up Kaba Modern, and hip hop dancer Asako Hara, get our Summer Issue here!