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  Entertainment   In Other News  07 May 2019  Kings (United) get crowned

Kings (United) get crowned

Published : May 7, 2019, 12:18 am IST
Updated : May 7, 2019, 12:24 pm IST

The dance crew has won American reality television show World of Dance, taking home a cash prize of one million dollars.

Kings United during their finale performance.
 Kings United during their finale performance.

Kings United, a dance crew from the narrow lanes of Mumbai’s Nalasopara have made the nation proud by winning the dance reality show that also comes with a cash prize of one million dollars. Though elated with their win, the success of their act is yet to sink in.

“We always wanted to be on the stage of World Of Dance. We have been following the show since the beginning,” says Pavan Rao who happily caught hold of Jennifer Lopez’s shoe thrown at them for their mind-blowing performance in the first round.

A dream-come-true for the team of 15 dancers, the crew studied the whole competition very extensively. “It was a very big challenge because the World Of Dance is not just hip-hop. There are varied dance forms that are brought on to that stage, be it contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, salsa, tap dance. There are dance forms that are showcased from different countries,” informs Rao. In their finale, the crew won by a winning score with all the three judges giving 100. The competition divided into four parts required members from every division to qualify to be a part of the competition. For Kings United founder and choreographer, Suresh Mukund, a bronze at World Hip Hop Championship in 2015 wasn’t enough. He constantly felt a void and wanted more.

The crew whose videos had gone viral by then had offers coming from America’s Got Talent and World of Dance. As the crew chose to go with the latter, they never could have imagined what was in store for them. “After the bronze, I felt something was still missing. Few of our videos had gone viral internationally. As we started getting inquiries from abroad, we decided that World of Dance is the place that we need to go to,” says Mukund.

Having started their first round on a winning score, more than that of the past two seasons, Mukund proudly tells how the crew always stood on top throughout the five rounds of the competition.

“The best of performers take part in this competition. People thought we are amateurs and the first round went beyond our expectations,” smiles the choreographer, adding, “Jennifer Lopez threw her shoes at us which is a form of respect dancers show if the performance is extraordinary.”

And like any other win, this too didn’t come without hurdles. “We encountered our first injury in the second round. And then in the fourth round, our boy Hardik sustained a major injury on his already injured foot, just two minutes before going on the stage. We were getting our tricks right and he didn’t land correctly on his feet. But he didn’t give-up and performed even better than the rehearsals. It was amazing, he is our superhero,” smiles Rao. It is also the same dance group whose journey choreographer-director Remo D’souza aesthetically essayed on the silver screen in ABCD2.

Twenty-five year old Akshay who started with the Kings United at the age of 15, never learned the basics of dancing but worked with the aim of giving his best and nothing less.

“The World of Dance is something we have been looking up to. It is a huge thing. I did get nervous but felt that our hard work is finally coming to life. It was a big deal to be performing there. We have so closely observed the dance done on that stage that it was surreal to be performing there,” says Akshay who attributes his dancing to Suresh’s way of teaching that really helped him.“Funnily, during the dance one doesn’t get to know if the back dancers’ moves and tricks have worked out. But we didn’t get nervous and kept performing,” adds Akshay.

Talking about the performance, Rao speaks about their unique dancing style that made them shine at the competition. “We used a lot of loud movements, combing them with Bollywood songs. We stood out for adding Bollywood flavours to our acts.  Bollywood songs along with the choreography and our dynamic tricks was a shocking package for the audience and judges. What we did there, the other dancers didn’t manage,” asserts Rao.

Recalling their stint at the competition, the 26-year-old still can’t believe to have met international legends such as Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough.

“Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo are someone I have grown up watching. There used to be a mentoring session by them and they are very humble and down-to-earth. They have no attitude and treat us like kids. If they would spot a dancer limping, they would walk up to them explain why it is important to take care of ourselves and that we are just like athletes,” says Rao.

Reminiscing the moments during their performance on Malhari, he says, “We did Bollywood steps on Malhari and Derek liked it so much that he came on the stage and asked us to teach him the step.”

While the fame and adulation is yet to sink in, the dancers emphasise how much of a learning experience the show was.  “It was a new experience working in a new production and country among a class of dancers. It was lavish and good,” concludes Rao.

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