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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 5, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 23
#LIVING Dance Competition June 7 promotes LGBTQ and Allied dance crews to raise money for local social justice nonprofit SOSea
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#LIVING Dance Competition June 7 promotes LGBTQ and Allied dance crews to raise money for local social justice nonprofit SOSea

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

#LIVING DANCE COMPETITION
FRED WILDLIFE REFUGE
June 7


Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) and +Ultra Entertainment will present the second #LIVING Dance Competition featuring four dance crews competing for $1,000 prize, June 7, 7 p.m. doors, 8-10 p.m. show, at Fred Wildlife Refuge (127 Boylston Ave. E.) for a night that promises to be a big winner for anyone watching the rise of local dance culture.

Last summer I got together with local dancer/choreographer Grant Cabebe (+Ultra Entertainment) to discuss producing a dance show or competition that featured local LGBTQ and Allied dancers. Cabebe, who is locally known for teaching dance classes in Northgate at the Eastlake Dance Studio and competing in SOSea's annual male underwear model competition Battle of the Bulge loved the idea and we began to hash out details of what became known as #LIVING (as in I am 'living to dance.').

The idea is we approach dance crews that have a certain level of skill and reputation and ask them to compete for a cash prize and bring out the biggest crowd possible to raise money for SOSea. On the surface this might seem like a very easy thing to accomplish. Dancers are usually sexy and dancing is fun and people seem to like it. However, locally, if you take a snapshot of the club scene, dancers are rarely celebrated. Most of the attention is given to drag queens even over deejays, let alone dance acts. The challenge is we have to literally build a scene where local nightclubs will hire dance acts and feature them throughout the night or singers and drag performers feature dancers as well. And then there's the fact that many people like dance or presumably like dance but don't pay a ticket price (as a donation) to see dance crews perform. Whatever the challenge, Cabebe and SOSea gladly accepted and we are happy that we did because the first #LIVING proved to be a success and we are now just days away from the second event - which has nearly doubled in size!

The first-ever #LIVING Dance Competition was held at Neighbours Nightclub last October and saw over 100 donors come out and cheer on Mynd Kuntrol, KUT'N'UP and 3rd Shift Dance Company compete for $500. Drag entertainer and accomplished dancer Amora Dior Black hosted the competition and a panel of celebrity guest judges decided who was #LIVING to dance. Video footage from the event can be found on the Social Outreach Seattle Youtube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVjAGDlg9Ms.

This Sunday promises to be another great show but even bigger than before. Kitty Kitty Bang Bang is scheduled to be the hostess for the evening. Judges include Daniel Cruz (Michael Jackson, Prince, Ashanti, N*Sync), Isaac Atafua Tualaulelei (ADBC Heavy Impact, Glee, Tuxedo), Anna Matuszewski (Lead Choreographer for Mackelmore), Josh Hazmat Ulep (Director of Hypersquad Dance Co, The Ellen Show). Jaquan Price (La Saveona Hunt) (Miss Gay Pride Seattle 2014, RPlace Thirsty Thursday Host).

The dance crews competing for the prize and to say they were #LIVING to dance are Konichiwaack, Kontagious Movement, Twisted Elegance, PG Boys.

PG Boys, ran by the 'T-Twins' Terrence and Tenoa Spencer, feature men from The Connection PAC. They are known for their smooth and sensual choreography and their knack to work a crowd. The talent on PG Boys carried them to feature performances at showcases all along the West Coast such as The Main Event in BC, Collaboration Socal, and more. Their members teach throughout WA State and often receive recognition at conventions such as Monsters of Hip-Hop.

Twisted Elegance is another established group from the NW originally founded by Jaret Hughes and LA member/founder Joey Cooper. Twisted Elegance has built up its name over the years with their work showcased at Seattle KUBE 93's Summer Jam, the Seattle fine arts scene through 4Culture, and performances/teaching abroad in China. Co-directed by Ron Smith, the Seattle group continues to train and perform with top talent in Seattle. Known to dance to tailored tracks that feature breakdowns rivaling those of the '90s and early '00s, Twisted Elegance always brings energy and precision to the stage.

Kontagious Movement (or KM) describes themselves as more than a dance group, but a band of brothers. Founded by professional dancer Yoshi Wright, now residing in LA, KM members all grew up with a love for funk and dance. This passion and brotherhood flows into their performances, known to be athletic, fun, and theatrical. KM took 1st Place at World of Dance Seattle in 2010 and participates in local shows in the area and along the West Coast. They often collaborate with local groups to put on workshops to give back to the community.

Konichiwaack is a group of individuals joined together by the love of glitter, disco, Waacking and cats.

Assembled by Co-Directors Amie Hasegawa and Rina Pellerin, Konichiwaack was created to bring the freestyle dance of waacking to the stage with choreographic timing, unison and precision. Their pieces use a wide range of music and honor past eras with a profound connection to the Disco era in particular.

They each have respect for roots and foundations of the original style, they hope to share the love and knowledge of waacking culture with their community - while wearing cute outfits to boot!

Guest performances by +Ultra, ELOH, La Saveonna Hunt, and last year's winners Mynd Kuntrol.

Sponsors include Seattle Gay News (www.sgn.org), Fred WildlifeRefuge (www.fredwildliferefuge.com/), ZAO Films, Friday Night Hip Hop (www.fridaynighthiphop.com/), and Westlake Dance Center (www.westlakedance.com/).

The money that is raised by #LIVING Dance Competition will go directly to the Social Outreach Seattle program FROM THE HEART which works to help LGBTQ homeless youth/adults by providing outreach, food and hygiene products, and more. To donate directly to the program or Social Outreach Seattle go to www.SocialOutreachSeattle.com and clicking the DONATE tab; follow the prompts to a safe and secure donation today!

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