'World of Dance' Competitors Head to Blackpool with an Assist from 'SYTYCD' Star Phillip Chbeeb

by Kristyn Burtt | 7/13/2017 3:54 PM

WOD on DanceNetwork.tv

Photo credit: Emmy Pacheco

 

With the debut of World of Dance, audiences are being introduced to a diverse array of dance styles. On the Tuesday, June 6 episode, Luka and Jenalyn will be showing viewers what Ballroom Cabaret is all about and dance fans will not be disappointed.

 

More: Get Ready For Ballroom Cabaret With Luka & Jenalyn On ‘World Of Dance’

 

Ballroom Cabaret is a combination of ballroom dancing, cabaret, Cirque and theatre arts. The routines are exciting to watch; so 19-year-old Luka and 16-year-old Jenalyn are the perfect pair to showcase this style to the masses.

 

In addition to WOD, the duo had the opportunity to compete and perform at Blackpool Dance Festival at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England for the second time in the pro cabaret division on Friday, June 2. This is significant because they are the world’s youngest pro cabaret couple and they are competing against three couples, who have trained them over the last three years.

 

Carlos Zapata, Micheline Marmot and Craig Smith have all guided Luka and Jenalyn’s career while remaining at the top of their craft as well. Smith, who hails from South Africa, coached them in preparation for World of Dance.

 

WOD on DanceNetwork.tv

Photo credit: FOX

 

In order to stand out from the competition at Blackpool this year, Luka and Jenalyn decided to add a fresh new approach to their work. They enlisted Season 5 So You Think You Can Dance contestant and founding member I.aM.mE crew, Phillip Chbeeb.

 

For Luka and Jenalyn with World of Dance and Blackpool, 2017 is turning out to be a year they will never forget.

 

“It is every ballroom dancer’s dream come true [to compete at Blackpool], because it is by far the most prestigious competition on the globe,” says the duo to Dance Network. “Just to be the youngest couple ever to compete in the 120-year-old Ballroom Cabaret division is truly an honor.”

 

Dance Network spoke via email with Luka, Jenalyn and Phillip exclusively about their collaboration for Blackpool.

 

More: Did ‘World Of Dance’ Live Up To The Hype?

 

Dance Network: What inspired you to reach out to Phillip to choreograph this piece for you?

 

Luke and Jenalyn: We've always been huge fans of Phillip Chbeeb and his ability to manipulate his body to any music while creating fantastic pieces of art that we have never seen before. We realized that the routines we choreographed were being influenced by the work we saw on YouTube. 

 

Even though our dance skills evolved in cabaret ballroom, we started to plateau in ballroom competitions and shows. So, we knew we had to think outside the box for training.  

 

The NBC experience taught us to push our limits and [we knew] that there was so much more for us to learn from different dance styles and teachers. After a fateful Instagram message sent to Phillip, he responded and took a look at our performances. He was intrigued to work with us to create something new and fresh and also to get involved for the first time with professional cabaret dancers.  

 

We flew Phillip to Toronto and we had him for two days of rehearsal.  The experience pushed us completely out of our comfort zone and started us down a path of hard work and discovery. 

 

WOD on DanceNetwork.tv

Photo credit: Emmy Pacheco

 

DN: Phillip, what made you say yes to working with Luka and Jenalyn?

 

Phillip Chbeeb: I've spent most of my career consumed with the idea of discovering original movement using influences from all styles. Typically I have searched from the perspective of my body, but after seeing the incredible ability and physical prowess of Luka and Jenalyn, I knew that we could together create a collaborative and incomparable partnership.

 

DN: How did Phillip’s choreographic style influence your work?

 

L&J: It has definitely added a layer of movement and technique that has been able to diversify our style and give us more ways to connect with the audience and judges.   We felt it was an experience that helped us bring out emotions and true feelings about why we dance. 

 

More: These Latin Ballroom Stars Are Bringing Some Heat To ‘World Of Dance’

 

DN: What was the biggest challenge for you during the rehearsal process?

 

Phillip: The biggest challenge when choreographing on Luka and Jenalyn was finding the perfect balance of pushing them to explore new movement options and using their strengths. If you do one more than the other, you will end up with a routine that looks like something they have done before or one that highlights their weaknesses.

 

DN: What is the best advice Phillip gave you?

L&J: During training, Phillip shared new approaches to listen to the music and find unique ways to move our bodies to get more out of our dance.  Phillip is a perfectionist and his relentless eye to detail helped us get to a whole new level of performance.  

 

WOD on DanceNetwork.tv

Photo credit: Emmy Pacheco

 

DN: Phillip, what did you learn from working with Luka and Jenalyn?

 

Phillip: One of the biggest lessons I learned from working with them was that the ability of the younger generation is truly remarkable. Their spirit and persistence was relentless when it came to accomplishing their goals. Their enthusiasm in growth definitely sparked a new flame in myself to work even harder than I already do.

 

In addition, the style they compete in is truly a marvel to me as I have always loved exploring partner work and here I found myself teaching and learning from those directly involved in the height of that craft. I couldn't be happier that I have met and worked with them!