Asian America's Best Dance Crew

March 6, 2009

The previous two champion crews, Jabbawockeez (I love you, Phi!) from season one, and Super Crew from season two, and this season's winners Quest Crew all have significant Asian American representation. Nearly every crew on America's Dance Crew has had at least one API member. It's interesting that American's Best Dance Crew is full of Asian Americans. So really should the show be called Asian America's Best Dance Crew?

As someone who has seen a bit of the West Coast dance scene, I can say that Asian America definitely represents in the dance world, at least the hip-hop/street dance world. Dance competitions and dance classes up and down California are packed with API dancers. Combine that with other API cultural events like Kollaboration and it's clear we roll deep in hip-hop. Think about it. Some of the best b-boy crews in the world are Japanese and Korean. Hip-hop dance runs so deep with us you'd think there were ancient Chinese texts describing how a Tang Dynasty warlord busted mad headspins to conquer Western China. Or Japanese woodblock print
ukiyo-e depicting samurai serving up dope T-flares... Or
the I-Ching's missing chapter: Mad Steez.

Seriously, folks, what is it about an art form that started in the 1970s in New York by disenfranchised African American youth that resonates with Asians and APIs the world over? Maybe it's that hip-hop swag, or the raw expression, or maybe we're not the studious model minority some like us to conform to. Whatever the case, it's clear hip-hop as a culture goes beyond race, which is part of the reason why it's so powerful in the first place.

But how come this Asian American hip-hop connection hasn't gotten wider
notice in the mainstream? What, suddenly the kid you thought was only
good at trig can do a headspin and no one bats an eye? Please. It's always interesting (and sad) how much old, tired stereotypes override clear observation. People don't recognize Asians as dancers, but you know if there was a reality show called World's Worst Driver that had a Chinese lady in it people would nod to each other knowingly: "Yup, Asians can't drive."

Keep up the dancing, everyone, and a special ups to Beat Freaks -- they fought gender as well as racial stereotypes. Congratulations again to Quest Crew. You guys aren't just dancing for America, you're dancing for Asian America.


Mic Nguyen

social media editor & blogger

Michael D. Nguyen is a writer who grew up and went to school in California and now lives in NYC. When he's not
internet shopping, he works in advertising. Follow him @mic_nguyen



I gotta say i agree and disagree with some people here. i agree that the reason asians dont get recognized for their hip hop connection is because they contribute very little to hip hop in terms of music. id find it weird to see some asian guy rappin about how many bitches he gets and how much bank he got. then again tho, thats not very "iconic" or "powerful" and thats whats on the mainstream media nowadays. in fact, the original hip hop culture was nothing like the shallow shit that you see on mtv these days, so its weird to think of old school MCs like Rakim being an inspiration to clowns like souljah boyi disagree with james on his observations, so i gotta wonder where youre from. over on the west coast, theres a shit ton of bboys (who are on beat) that are asian and at the clubs most of the wackest dancers are white to be honest. its also ridiculous for you to say all asians are good at choreography but have no rhythm even after acknowledging that 3 crews with asians have won ABDC in a row, and STILL try to claim not being racisti also disagree with the idea that dancing can be perfected. yea, maybe a certain move, set, or choreography can be, but if youve ever been in a battle where you dont know what song is coming on next and you gotta be ready to rock the beats as they come, youll know that theres always room for improvement in dance.
I must admit, when I was a teenager in the mid 1980s, I never thought this dance style that originated out of West Africa and passed down to from desendents of slaves would define an American culture for decades.These guys are amazing and very acrobatic, greatdancers.You wrote this:But how come this Asian American hip-hop connection hasn't gotten wider notice in the mainstream?Heres my observation, despite the fact that Asian Crews have done quite well recently, there are other elements of Hip Hop that needs a stronger Asian presence.1. Rapping: There are a lot of dope Asian MCs out there ranging from JIN to Bambu, but How many of them have sold over a million copies? How many have heavy rotations on premeiere radio stations.I think Hip Hop music artist put most dancers on the map. Asians need to penetrate the music seen in a major way.2. DJing, Get more DJs on major networks and expose Asian talents that are always overlooked. African American originated hip hop, so Asians are seen as Johhny Come latelys imitating or co-opting some one elses culture. How do you change this perception?After watching Hip Hop grow over the years, I think bridges can be built between cultures. I would not have said this when I was on the scene many years ago.
Well not being racist but though I do admit that Asians are good at hitting choreography, they are really BAD dancers when it comes to clubs in cities all over America. And this is also a fact, I mean when have you heard someone say he's such a good dancer and he/she is asian? Asians don't have any rhythm, so I find it super interesting that they won 3 times. Again, choreography wise, Asians obviously do very well, but put them in a club...and you'd see what I'm talking about.
u rock keep danceing great job love the mo hawk-mikwe
People should just cut "but" from their vocabulary. It does more harm than good.
i took a look at the numbers and asians are outrepresenting their population in the US by 6X.and james, i'm not negating all of your observations, but i have observed asians clubbing in various states too and i don't have that impression. in fact, i have the impression that asians have better rhythm than most.
they r so cute and hondsome,,,,i love you guyssss
I think that for someone to say Asians can't dance in Clubs is a lie. Get a Asian group to dance in the CLUBS around their circle and the white folks step down while some may step up. Asian hip-hop isn't recognized in The united STates (USA), but they are really tight uniting as One. The #1 reason why alot of Racial American don't win is (while working together, they aren't really working together. Because in their mind, they're judging that Asian can't DANCE. Thinking they can beat anyone except for the African American Groups. While on the other hand, the Asian teams are working hard; for example (Jabawokees, Super Cr3w, and Quest Crew) and not judging any racial groups at all because Asian are look upon as non-dance group. At least they are working together, in many cases you have to have teamwork in most Asian Teams. You find that in American and then you name yourself the BEST. That's why mostly Asian groups wins. Even if an AMERICAN group can dance doesn't mean an Asian GROUP can't.
What do you mean by "outrepresenting their population"? Where are these numbers you are referring to.
I think it's a double or triple edged sword. I think there are talented Asian performers. However, maybe they are late to the game so to get the attention of the music industry, they have to do something very innovative and unique and that hasn't happened yet.But that being said, I think America (even Asian Americans) are not programmed to look at Asians as musicians or performers. So, even if the Asian performers are innovating, the music companies feel they cannot be marketed. This is the same problem with movies. Asians have been look at as supporting players but not lead actors. Harold and Kumar is an example of films that are tying to change that.I remember an all Asian boy band from the 1990's called Kai. The band recounted they were an opening act for show that was attended by primarily African-Americans. The band said that the attendees were surprised at how they sang.Asians shouldn't aim to to just get one industry or another. They need to be open to ALL aspects of business. Whether it be a DJ or a record executive, so that perceptions can be changed in the future.
I totally agree with you Don L. Its really hard for asians to get in the film and music industry because the asians that aim for sucsess in the media are pioneers. But i have gotten the feeling lately that it is about to change.Like mentioned in this tekst asians have shown their talent in dancing. At the same time, more asaians are introduced to the cinema.(One of the biggest stars in korea vil headline a hollywood film named "the warriors way"). And groups like Far east movement, Jin and David Choi are slowly working their way uppward. It will be fun to see what will happen in the future.
i love theses guys.. i met them at the dub show in LA.. talented and loving.. so polite and kind to all their fans.. HOTT!! all together sick talented group..
Maybe asian's still shows respect trying to act right even you saw them how sick they were....its in da blood keeping our foot on the ground but our head is always out there is still more to come!Pinoy 2 da fullest!
there are alot of talented asian people - music-wise, they just haven't blown up yet.. far east movement, jin, ramiele malubay, rin on the rox, traphik, lil crazed, etc.
oh yeah, its hysterical how soulja boy is famous.. he sucks ass.
America is a diverse nation, yet when you look at radio, it is COMPLETELY CONTROLLED by record companies. It lacks representation. Add to the fact that all asians don't speak the same language, your dividing it even more. So the reason you don't hear asian singers or rappers much is because the average consumer cannot relate.If you go deeper into their own countries and research the music, you will understand they have soul in their own cultural music at the moment but it is always changing like the rest of the world.Don't be ignorant by feeling superior to other races. Thats just lame.
It shouldn't be called Asian America's Best Dance Crew.There are alot of other races, the majority is not asians. There are whites, blacks. There are more blacks and whites then asians. It's simply that asians are the ones that always are the top of the competition so they get recognized more. The only asian crews are Jabbawockeez, Kaba Modern, Super Cr3w, SoReal Cru, Supreme Soul, TM and Quest. That's 8 crews out of 35. Which is minority.So basically to sum it up,Whites are the majority in ABDC, then blacks, then asians.It's just the soul reason that Asians are always the top front runners, lasting long in the competition which makes it seem like there's many asians in the ABDC competition.
>But how come this Asian American hip-hop connection hasn't gotten wider notice in the mainstream?Easy. The dancing part is something that can be honed and hammered to perfection, but great songwriting isn't, a thing much more elusive. Listen to Far East Movement's Girls On The Dancefloor.. dated and derivative stuff from these guys trying to make some kind of mark. Either you have it or you don't, and so far asians haven't been able to come up with anything music-wise that blows up and captures the mainstream interest. Asians have contributed absolutely nothing that rates iconic and powerful to the music and the culture that inspired it.Nothing definitive that anyone can reference.
this group is da shittt,well after da first season lols. buht other than that, they're da bestt!!go quest crew! asian america's best dance crew! :P