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Philippine.Allstars

A collection of our best features written features…

 

TRANSIT COVER STORY (March 2007)

(Transit Magazine) THE CHAMP IS HERE!

(feature article salvaged from our Multiply site: http://allstars2005.multiply.com/reviews/item/3)

As the Philippine Allstars prepare once again to take the center stage at this year’s World Hip-Hop Championship, they open up on the difficult path to international recognition & their dreams for their fellow pinoys.

By: September Grace Mahino

“We were fired up!” Laurence Chua expresses succinctly when asked how the Philippine Allstars is feeling at the impending World Hip Hop Championship, which is only little more than three months away. “We’re trying to remember how it was the first time, how we did it for fun, for love, to inspire people & to keep walking with God.” Chua, of course, is referring to their 2006 win at the same competition last year at Redondo Beach, California, where Allstars proved once & for all that pinoys can be hip-hop after all.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY

The group’s international success year is a perfect story of perseverance in the face of adversity: with almost-zero funds to fly to the U.S. just days before the competition & only $7 between the whole group once they actually got there, it is no surprise that Allstars look at their achievement with more than just pride. Awe is more like it. “Flying there was already a blessing. It was our time. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for God,” Chua says, to which the rest of the group nod quietly in agreement. Considering how green the group was at the time, the amount of support given by FilAm communities was, indeed, nothing short of a miracle. A signature gesture–an index finger pointing up–is one of the many tributes that the group pays to their maker & serves as a reminder of why they are where they are. In a television interview last year, the group’s main choreographer, Kenneth Serrano (who was in Canada at the time of the Transit interview), explained, “People ask us what we mean when we [point up], if it means we’re number one or what. What we actually mean is ‘To God be all the glory,’ that everything we do is because of Him & for Him.

In the same television interview, Serrano, fresh from the group’s Torino, Italy & California wins (Allstars also won Gold in the 2nd International Hip Hop Open d’Italia in June 2006), could not speak enough about how humbled the group was to have scored a big one in the major leagues. “[Allstars] are only about a year old,” he said then, “so it really amazes us na binigan ‘yun ni Lord sa amin. It was fate.” He continues, “We’re not trying to be evangelists because people might get the wrong idea. ‘Yung iba nga sa amin, hindi naman talaga nagsisimba every week or pala-dasal dati but we know that we didn’t achieve success on our own. It was really His will.

UNDERDOGS

Yet however charming & inspiring their underdog story is, Allstars still remain, basically, as underdogs. Despite the honor & acclaim that they have brought to the country, the group is still far from getting the financial & morale boost they need. “Wala pa rin eh,” Lema Diaz replies to whether the government or any big-scale organization has taken the group’s endeavors under its wings. “We’re still pretty much on our own. We do have supporters, though, & we’re so grateful to them.” She rattles off names & labels one by one: “Gold’s [Gym], Adidas, Levi’s, Saga Events, the Rotary Club… these are people who have worked with us & believed in us even when we didn’t have a gold medal yet. It’s a lifetime utang to them: Tim Yap who featured us when we hadn’t won yet, Robby Carmona who included us in his gigs & gave us freedom to do what we do best, our families, of course, who support us 24/7… knowing that it’s more than just us inspires us.”

For their July competition, the group is beginning to make the sponsorship rounds. They also acknowledge that a more visible support from their fellow Filipinos would be more than welcome. Actually, considering what they have done for the Philippines, support should already be unasked for. After all, thanks to Allstars, there’s no more doubt if authentic pinoy hip hop is possible, outside the baggy-jeans, awkward-rap-layered-over-Barbara-Streisand-songs stereotype.

“EVERYBODY HAS A RIGHT TO BE GOOD AT HIP HOP”

And it’s not the gangsta-rap, sex-and-violence-on-MTV type of hip hop that they’re talking about. “Hip hop is not about living a life that isn’t yours,” Sheena Vera Cruz explains. “It has gotten a negative rep such that when people hear [hip hop], they immediately think it’s only about music or fashion or rappers. For Allstars, it’s more than that; hip hop is about giving love & expressing yourself. With hip hop, there’s no holding back on how much you feel & how much you move.”

The Allstars balk at the notion that when it comes to hip hop, Filipinos are seen as mere copycats yet the group also realizes that there is basis for this particular bad image. “Yung iba kasi, they think that hip hop is the ‘in’ thing. So when young people see [a hip hop video], they copy it exactly,” says Chua. “They don’t stop to think that Missy Elliot raps & moves the way she does because that’s the culture where she’s coming from. That’s her vibe.” For the group, authenticity is what would make the Filipinos rise in the scene, as hip hop is a vibe that anyone can relate to.

“Everybody has a right to be good at it,” Chua continues, & if we look at the bigger picture, hip hop is in our blood. If an American guy wears this jacket, we’d wear it differently. You may have the same moves but being a Filipino immediately makes a difference.” In short, the group believes that Pinoy should stop trying so hard to become someone else &, instead, simply just be.

And they may be on to something, given the immense admiration & respect that the Allstars have gotten from their foreign competitors. Madelle Enriquez tries to describe the Pinoy-flavored hip hop vibe that brought the group to the top: “People feel it more than they see it. We draw people in with energy, more than just dancing. Once we step onstage, we become alive. We may not perform our routines perfectly pero nararamdaman ng audience ‘yung love namin for dancing. We represent God & our culture & it’s not one person only; it’s the whole group on the same page.”

As for the tough, street vibe that the group has got going on, Chua explains, “For us, the way we see gangsta, [it means] life is tough. You deal with the hardships & get up everytime you fall–that’s what gangsta means to us. That’s why we’re gangsta!”

JUST LIKE FAMILY

More than their skills, it’s the heart & fire for dancing that serves as the group’s best attributes. As Diaz puts it, “You have to want it. you have to appreciate what you have. Kasi mahirap maging member sa grupo na ‘to. When asked what could be difficult about being a member of a world-class world-renowned group (outside the physical demands of dancing, of course), Michelle Salazar says, “There are so many sacrifices you have to make: financially, physically, emotionally…”

“Every-ly,” Enriquez injects with a laugh.

“…time, relationships, being with your family… marami,” Salazar concludes.

“Allstars isn’t just a job.” Chua explains. “We hang out almost everyday & some even end up doing the same racket as someone else. It’s a family.”

And as it is with ever family, relationships aren’t always on a smooth course, with the group’s fair share of decision-making conflicts & bull sessions. “Dito sa grupo, dapat hindi sensitive,” states Jhong Mesina. “Kung may problema ang iba sa ‘yo or ikaw, may problema ka with someone, dapat sabihin mo sa kanila ng straight. Tulungan dapat kapag may mahina. We trust each other with our lives.”

“Ang problema ng isa, damay lahat,” adds Diaz. “Even in our past trips, we’ve experienced spotting for another person when they’re short on money. You really have to ask, ‘Ano ba talaga ang magagawa mo? Hanggang saan ang extensions mo?’ In this group, you do things that are beyond what you want and, instead, do what is best for everyone. Walang sapawan.”

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

“DANCER’S ARE ARTISTS, TOO.”

It’s not just the interpersonal realations that get rough; their principle on maintaining creative freedom has caused Allstars a lot of gigs & projects that could have raked in big money. “We do refuse jobs if they step on our principles,” admits Diaz, who handles the group’s schedule & appointments. Such jobs are run-of-the-mill instructional videos & hip hop DVDs that are being offered to them continuously. “Basta mga projects where we don’t have a say, no creativity involved. Just commercial ventures na ang habol lang ay pera,” describes Mesina.

Kyxz Mendiola ascribes the proliferation of the get-rich-quick offers that they receive to the generally low opinion of society for dancers. “May mga umalok na sa amin na mag-back up sa artista na hindi naman marunong sumayaw,” he says with a laugh. “Pero hindi naman pwedeng i-compromise ‘yung quality ng ginagawa namin. Ang daming madaliang offers pero hindi pwedeng quantity before quality.”

“Kung tinaggap namin lahat ng offers na ‘yan,” Salazar surmises, “siguro mayaman na kami ngayon.”

On the topic of the ridiculous requests & demands put upon the group by various producers, the members get worked up. “Gusto namin ma-realize ng tao na dancers are artists, too,” Mendiola states. “Kasi mahirap ang buhay ng dancers. Hindi pinag-aaralan ng isang araw lang ang sayaw at hindi siya madali. That’s why we have to make a stand & teach people how to respect dancers. Kaso, once you make a suggestion na, ‘Pwede kayang ganito?’ sasabihin nila kaagad na may attitude na kami.”

Diaz admits to a reputation that Allstars seem to be getting, one that describes them as “feeling” (a colloquial term for a self-importance) & “may attitude”. “But that’s because we don’t want to sell out. Sanay kasi yung tao na decoration lang ang dancers, smile lang sa background. But for us, we believe that when you give an artist the opportunity to showcase their craft, that’s when they come up with a masterpiece.”

Last year’s masterpiece, which the group performed to a mix that included the latter-day Pinoy anthem “Bebot” (Serrano is also in charge of mixing the music that the Allstars use) & featured a very neat motorcycle trick, was a product of collaborative effort. “That motorcycle thing, laru-laro lang ‘yun nung una,” Diaz shares. “It was Laurence who thought of it kasi ibang klase rin siya mag-isip. As for the others, kanya-kanya kaming flavor that we contibute to our routines.”

There is no typical rehearsal for the group. Unstructured, inforced, Allstars groove only when they feel the energy & inspiration. “Sometimes, we go in & just sit down & talk if we don’t feel like dancing yet,” Diaz narrates laughing. “If you don’t know the group, talagang malilito ka. Kailangang maintindihan mo ‘yung ADD ng mga tao,” she says, referring to the other members who had drifted away from the interview & were practicing different moves in front of a mirror. “Ganyan talaga sila kapag may interviews, mahirap i-keep ‘yung attention.”

Mendiola strongly believes that fate really had a hand on Allstars from day one–and still has, up to now. “Hindi kami nagpapa-audition,” he reveals when asked about the group’s new trainees, Prince Paltu-ob, Deomer Bantillo & Niko Bolante. “We believe that God gave us the members that we have; on one page kaming lahat automatically. Iisa ang takbo ng utak. Some people have the skills but they don’t share the same beliefs as us, tapos ‘yung iba, they share our beliefs but they only end up as our group’s friends. Kapag nagtatanong about auditions, wala kaming masagot. Hindi talaga namin masasabi kung sino ‘yung magiging miyembro pa namin because it was fate that brought us together.”

PINOY PRIDE

The group’s love for hip hop seems to know no bounds, which is hardly a surprise since it was the main thing that gave way to the birth of Allstars. The members may have come from various dance groups & affiliations, & a couple didn’t even have a formal background in dance, yet their common love for dancing paved the way for the group to come together. Not to mention their belief in the innate Filipino talent.

“We see the situation here, where kids are dancing on the streets & they have so much potential,” Diaz says emphatically. For Allstars, the common-held belief that Pinoys are naturals when it comes to performing arts is a truth. Last year, Serrano had extolled on the wave that Filipino talents have been riding on recently, as representatives win international competitions left & right. “We have Jed Madela & lots of other singers winning over other competitors. We have Manny Paquiao. Modestly aside, we have Allstars. It’s the time for Filipinos,” he concludes matter-of-factly.

“Ang impression ng ibang bansa sa mga Filipino & Filipino dancing eh ‘yung ‘Otso otso’, ‘yung nakikita nila sa noontime shows,” says Mendiola. “Kaya pag nakikita nila ‘yung iba pang kayang gawin ng Filipino, talagang nagugulat sila.”

As Ken said, it’s not a hoax,” Diaz states. “It’s true that Filipinos are talented. It’s not a one-time thing; simula pa lang ito. we’ve scratched only the surface.”

“Black power!” Maya Carandang pipes up, to which the other members laugh.

Likening their ordeal to that of the first pilgrims, Allstars is optimistic about & supportive of their successors. “Baka kami lang ‘yung experiments,” stated Diaz. “The next ones won’t experience the same thing anymore.” “We definitely won’t be the last to make our mark,” Cruz adds in agreement.

“Despite major success they already achieved at their group’s young age, a feat that most dance groups can only dream of, the Allstars are far from satiated. On the question of what are their further plans, the members shoot off their biggest dreams:

“As big as we can go!”

“World domination!”

“Allstars in one compound!”

“We’re dreamers,” Diaz says. “If you’re a dreamer, sky’s the limit. Tsaka lahat ng na-dream namin, ginawa namin.” A more concrete plane includes, sponsorships willing, an Allstars school for performing arts, where talented but underprivileged kids can develop their skills in dance, music & art. “With our group, we learned how to move by watching; what more if someone had taught us, or will teach those kids who dance in the streets? With the right support, Filipinos are going to be unstoppable.”

“There’s no way you wanna stay as a third world country only. Sabi nga ni Ken, ‘Hindi pa natitikman ng mundo.’ We’re just one sector of the revolution to change. If a lot of countries hear about the Philippines & see what we’re capable of doing, then our country will be the land of opportunity.” We just need to believe.” Enriquez sums up, “That’s the key: Pinoy pride.”

* * * * * * *

DANCING QUEENS… and KINGS

(Manila Bulletin) Jaser A. Marasigan

Philippine All Stars recognizes hip hop is the world’s favorite youth culture, a global epidemic. And once again, this group will hip-hop its way to victory at the world championships set next month…

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. – Havelock Ellis

They may have defied gravity by dancing their way to the top. But what is more amazing is how they manage to keep their feet firmly on the ground.

The Philippine All Stars reigned supreme in the 2006 World Hip Hop Championships, the largest and most respected of the international competitions for hip hop dance, serving up a soul-stirring fusion of moves and dance styles. They also topped the 2nd International Hip Hop Open D’Italia, and placed third last year at the 6th World Hip Hop Championship in Los Angeles.

To say that the Philippine All Stars is insanely cool is an understatement. But the story to tell is not their successes. It is how they got there.

’WE ARE ALL STARS’

The group recognizes hip hop as “the world’s favorite youth culture,” a global epidemic that has evolved from its ethnic roots by way of globalization and localization. Hip hop is often misconstrued, relating it to violence and drugs. But in recent years, this dance genre has given a voice to young people who want to be heard and noticed, the same thing that it is doing for the Philippine All Stars which is originally composed of 12 young and talented performers.

The Philippine All Stars is now known all over the world for their authentic hip hop and RnB flavor, combining different styles of urban grooves. They put breakdancing, pop lockin’, freestyling, krump, old school and new school in the mix. Its 15 members at present are Kenneth Serrano, Lema Diaz, Sheena Vera Cruz, Laurence Chua, Patrick Caballa, Kyxz Mendiola, Michelle Salazar, Jhong Mesina, Jeremiah Carandang, Reagan Cornelio, Chelo Espina, Madelle Enriquez, Prince Paltu-Ob, Deo Bantillo and Niko Bolante.

“We are the best in each field, in each style, that’s why we are all stars. Each of us is unique and everyone is a star,” explains Lema Diaz, who is also a member of the dance group Hotlegs, on how they coined the name of the group.

Starting out as close friends from different backgrounds, they decided to put their talents to good use. “We go way back, as in best friends, some are relatives and even childhood friends. We got to know each other from the clubbing scene, in Wherelse, Orange, Mars, Embassy, Jaipur,” recalls Lema.

Kyxz Mendiola and Michelle Salazar formed the group in June 2005. Having difficulty getting a job after finishing college, Michelle enrolled in a power dance class that summer.

“Mapili kasi ako sa trabaho ‘nun, ayoko nung basta-basta lang. So I might as well make something out of my summer. Hanggang sa na-involve na ako sa sayaw, di na ko makaalis. It became my passion,” she says.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Serrano and Laurence Chua have been friends since they were teenagers in Canada. They came back to the Philippines to find out more about their roots and at the same time try their luck in the local entertainment scene.

“I was in love with playing basketball, hip hop dancing, freestyling. But I had no idea what to do after high school. I hated computers,” shares Kenneth. “Bumalik kami ni Laurence dito, freed our minds. Ano kayang meron sa Pilipinas, next thing you know, we got trapped here and fell in love, all the struggles became miracles,” he adds.

All of the members were either in school or gave up their careers just to represent the country in the World Hip Hop Championships.

“We have different backgrounds but we are all interconnected by one mission, and it happened to be dancing,” says Laurence. “That’s how all of us met. It’s like destiny. We dropped our individual careers, some did modelling, singing, commercials, we dropped all that to focus in our mission to represent the country,” he enthuses.

ON THE DANCEFLOOR

In spite of their talents and hard work, the group went through some rough times. These were also the times when they forced to close their eyes and decided to walk with faith.

With no resources to go to the United States for the competition, and no one willing to sponsor the trip, they practically begged for money from families, friends and strangers.

But despite discouragement, the group believed they would win.

“A lot of people were saying we couldn’t make it because we were going up against the best of the best. But we know our capabilities. Besides, why join if you’re not gonna try to win it, ” adds Lema.

Their parents also thought they were making a big gamble. “They were scared for us. Some even called us ‘desperate.’ Others said that we’re just wasting our time. But it’s something that we really wanted, it’s our dream to win for our country,” relates Laurence.

They eventually raised enough money to fund the plane tickets to California where they managed to impress the competition with their energetic moves and inventive choreography inspired by, among others, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Usher.

Winning the world championship over countries like Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Spain, Russia, United Kingdom and Mexico, was no mean feat for a group of dancers who had never danced for a living or performed on TV. E-Real Records, a US-based recording company, was so impressed with them that their stay was extended, with board and lodging sponsored at that!

So what won it for the Philippines despite being the newbie in the hip hop scene?

“It’s our hunger, our fire. Yung mga struggles namin nilabas namin sa dancefloor,” enthuses Lema. “When you’re on fire, no one can stop you. We did not get intimidated. We were more like amazed because we get to share the stage with the best in the world.”

That same fire and hunger pushed them to compete again the following year, placing third over-all. Next month, they will leave again for the US to represent the country in the World Hip Hop Championships to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Dami ngang nagtatanong bakit nagco-compete pa rin kami eh na-prove na naman namin yung mga sarili namin,” says Michelle. “Para sa amin hindi siya more of the competition, it’s like giving love, we’re just giving back the glory (to Him),” she further adds.

The group had finally paid all their debts recently, amounting to approximately R3 million, via a series of fund-raising concerts. “Wala na kaming utang ngayon through yun sa concert namin. Hindi namin masyadong iniisip yung pera kasi alam naman namin mababayaran namin, kahit pakonti-konti. For example sa gigs, R5,000 ang bayad sa amin, R1,000 lang ang mapupunta sa amin,” Michelle humbly reveals.

SPREADING THE LOVE FOR DANCE

The Philippine All Stars hopes to improve the country’s standards in the entertainment industry by spreading their knowledge and awareness in the art of dancing.

Aside from occasional TV guestings, commercial and event appearances, and rehearsals everyday, the group is likewise busy with dance workshops, which they offer from time to time. “Balak namin in the future magkaroon ng scholars, magkaroon ng dance school. Although meron namang iba na nagtuturo kasi may mga studios na sila,” shares Michelle.

Since the group started and became popular, a lot of kids are now looking up to them as role models.

“Ang dami na ring gumagaya sa amin na mga bata. Umuutang din para makapag-compete. Isa sa mga gusto naming mangyari na ‘wag na silang umutang, kami na lang yung maghirap para sa kanila,” she ends.

http://www.mb.com.ph/YTCP20080723130463.html

 

 * * * * * * *

Philippine All-Stars: The World’s Best

(Risen Magazine) Submitted by Matt Marquez on Wed, 09/24/2008 – 05:29.

Photobucket

For few short days this summer hip-hop America got served. It was introduced to something much of the hip-hop world already knew: the Philippine All-Stars are the world’s best.

Take notice America, there’s a new definition of what it means to “represent.” With their gritty urban style and mind-blowing choreography the All-Stars showed up on our national stage and rocked-it all the way to another world title at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas this summer. While Rapper Nas is proclaiming that “hip-hop is dead”, and that might be true in Queens, the Philippine All-Stars showed-up like Doctor Frankenstein re-animating the impossible all the way to another world title.

Yeah, they’re for real.

Their style is original and might as well be from another planet because this crew is stellar. With moves that would have Cirque du Soleil fiendin’ for fix like a side-show wannabes, All-Stars brought their show to America’s biggest hip-hop stage opening-up MTV’s hit reality show America Best Dance Crew … and left the house breathless. The Philippine All-Stars are officially serving notice to America’s best that there is another rung to the ladder of excellence and it’s a ‘thrilla from Manilla.’

As for America’s best dance crews…

Get in line Jabbawokeez.

Take a number Super Crew.

Kaba Modern, you know the score.

But wait, it only gets better….

In an interview to be released at length in our January 2009 issue, Risen magazine’s witnessed a selfless and God loving crew whose message of hope and change can come from the most unlikely of messengers. All-Star KenJhons Serrano says it best with, “Look, its not about us and our story. Without God none of this achievable. It’s all about His story. We are blessed to be representing the best, you know? With God’s story in each of our lives everyone gets to be a champion. Because we – everyone on the earth – are all stars in God’s eyes.”

And this unending passion to represent “His Story” is what is so refreshing about this young dance crew from the Philippines. Many of the All-Stars have life stories of poverty, homelessness, and tremendous personal conflicts. Their very lives are stained with the toughest that life can throw at them. Yet through a collective desire to stay grounded on God’s love for them, prayer, and an undying faith that through God all things are possible they stand victorious in God’s light.

So do your YouTube, Myspace, and Google searches on the best of the best, the Philippine All-Stars. Get your popcorn ready and be ready to be rocked with a Filippino pride and a love for the one true God!

Subscribe now to get the January 2009 issue with the All-Stars on the cover!

 

 * * * * * * *

Crowd flips for Philippine All Stars — and vice versa

(Las Vegas Weekly) By Sarah Feldberg

Photobucket
The Philippine All Stars’ choreographer Ken Jhons holds a fellow dancer aloft during their performance at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships.
Photo: Sarah Feldberg

In every Olympics there are defining moments – performances that make such a strong statement any competitor preceding them is immediately forgotten and any who follow are watched with unavoidable skepticism. Nothing compares. Game friggin’ over.

On Sunday, Aug. 3 at the Theatre for the Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood, I watched as hip-hop crew the Philippine All Stars created just such a moment. Before a crowd of approximately 2,000, they rocked, jumped and flipped with unmatched intensity. The audience literally gasped as choreographer and crew leader Ken Jhons plucked a dancer from the ground and raised him above his head on a single arm, holding him aloft like a hunter with a prize kill, before discarding him back onto the stage. With silver-lined black vinyl trench coats flying around them, the All Stars looked like a comic book street gang, ready to throw down a dance battle at the slightest provocation. If a hip-hop crew can be intimidating, they were and then some.

It was a viciously show-stopping performance towards the end of an exhilarating night of street dance. Performing in front of an international panel of judges including Vegas’ own Natasha Jean-Bart, the original Lady Madonna in Cirque du Soleil’s Love, and America’s Best Dance Crew judge Shane Sparks, crews from 11 countries battled for the World Hip Hop Dance Championships’ bronze, silver and gold medals presented by MC Hammer himself.

Now in its seventh year, the competition is everything you’d expect from a new a competitive art form. Judges are critical but enthusiastic, dancers supportive and outgoing. During the preliminary round of international competition, younger b-girls already cut from the finals held an impromptu dance lesson off stage while dancer and choreographer Mr. Suave spoke to the crowd.

“Every single year inspires me. I go home and say, ‘How can I emulate them?’ They are ri-dic-u-lous. It’s not about who you beat, it’s about who you inspire.”

After exiting the stage, Suave greeted one of the young dancers and asked her how she was doing. Looking up from waist high with an exaggerated frown, she told him her crew hadn’t advanced to the next round.

“Did you hear what I said?” Suave asked.

“No,” she replied, “I was too busy dancing.”

The finals themselves stretched 30 crews and nearly five hours long. Tiny Japanese girls flicked traditional fans open and closed as they popped and locked in perfect coordination. Teens from New Zealand stomped through an aggressive high-energy routine. An all-male Mexican crew switched from powerful breaking to hip-swishing pantomime and back again in the span of half a minute. Canadians Xtreme Soul Style sauntered on stage like an Olympic soccer team in red and white warm up jackets before executing a performance with military precision to a machine gun beat.

But it was the Phillipine Allstars that elevated the evening with a routine based on Jhons’ thrilling choreography, work he attributes to God. “Straight up,” said Jhons pointing skyward. “We ran out of creativity; we had to pray for it.”

Standing on the uppermost step of the championship podium, flanked by the United States’ Kaba Modern in third place and 2007 champions Eklectic from Trinidad and Tobago in the silver spot, it seemed his prayers were answered. Jhons and his dancers pointed towards the sky once again. Still in the oil-slick trench coats, but now smiling out at the cheering crowd under the red, white, blue and gold of the Filipino flag, the crew looked like less like a hip hop army and more like Olympic victors. The audience, the judges, even their fellow competitors chanted together, “all-stars, all stars.” Nothing had compared to their performance. Game friggin’ over.

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/blogs/the-playground/2008/aug/05/crowd-flips-philippine-all-stars—-and-vice-versa/

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