Last week “Let’s Dance – The Tour” 2016 came to Detroit’s Fox Theater and completely packed the house. The tour featuring today’s most popular hip-hop and dance artists, Silentó, ILoveMempis (fka iHEARTMemphis), DLOW, We Are Toonz, and 99 Percent was cohosted by dance troop #TeamNueEra. The energy-filled extravaganza also featured DJ Double J and some of the world’s most loved and imitated hip-hop dancers, popularized through social media. Choreographer Jeremy Green of Dance 411 serves as the Creative Director for this first of its kind production which showcases the artists who’ve made hip-hop dances such as the “Whip / Nae Nae,” “DLOW Shuffle,” “Hit the Quan,” “Nae Nae,” “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me” and “Yike in It” into worldwide phenomenons. These dances, which are favorites of actors, athletes, talk show hosts and even politicians, have not only garnered millions of views on YouTube, they’ve also been featured on TV shows including, Good Morning America, Ellen and Steve Harvey.
Most importantly, this was one of the most positive things I’ve ever seen for Detroit’s youth. The Fox was filled to the brim with kids, parents, and young dance enthusiast alike. This show was so high energy you definitely needed a break by the time intermission came. When the lights came up I can honestly say the last time I saw so many kids with such stars in their eyes and glee filled faces was probably at a Ringling Bros. or Disney On Ice show. They were mesmerized, enthralled, ecstatic, and captivated. When asked about the show Angel Mallet, a dance student at Detroit School of Performing Arts stated, “My friends and I listen to their music and watch their videos all the time. We learn the dances and post them to social media. We make our own routines to their music and make #challenges for others to try. I’ve never seen a show like this on this scale. It’s inspiring to see, this is the kind of thing that gives me hope as a dancer because anyone has a chance to get noticed.”
While it was clear Angel had a blast, among my highlights included having the esteemed honor of catching up with entertainment industry mega- mogul and icon Michael Mauldin. Although he was extremely busy, he was just as generous and welcoming. Mauldin, the producer of the show, was overseeing every step of every act. It was more than obvious that he is very invested in the budding stars’ livelihood and success. He was everywhere from backstage, to dressing rooms, to the sound board in the front of the house, leaving nothing out of his reach. It’s just as well, his efforts have played an integral part in the discovery, development, and promotion of multi-platinum artists including, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Destiny’s Child, Chris Brown, (his son) Jermaine Dupree, Trey Songz, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, T.I., NeYo, and many more. In addition to being an industry superhero, Mauldin founded Next Generation of Leaders (NXG), a community and education-driven leadership program that focuses on 12 codes of leadership, and includes town hall meetings to foster dialogue between teens, artists, and adults to learn from and empower each other.
Another highlight was getting to know rapper/dancer DLOW (DLOW Shuffle) during his show he stopped to have the crowd chant “Stop the Killing, Stop the Violence!” and later during an interview with students after the show DLOW encouraged them to stay positive and motivated, then asked if they would join him as he led a prayer circle before they left. THAT is what our youth need, a beacon of light that is charting Billboard yet still takes time out to let fans know that they genuinely care. This show is full of extreme moves, positive energy, amazing young talent, and is a must see for all ages.
Interview with ‘Bop King’ DLOW:
K: We recently saw you on Steve Harvey how does it feel to be so celebrated?
D: It’s a joy to be acknowledged. I didn’t always have it great growing up but I’m truly blessed to be in the position I’m in today, I will forever remain humble.
K: I heard that there is a meaning to DLOW. What is it?
D: DLOW stands for Determined, Loyal, Optimistic, and Willing to Learning.
K: How do you come up with these routines?
D: The Routines come to me while I’m free styling. I just vibe out to the music and feed off the energy that’s in the room, my brothers keep my energy high.
K: I know Chicago, like Detroit, is big on organized or line dancing, we call it hustling you call it stepping. Do you think that local culture added to the popularity of the DLOW Shuffle?
D: Yes, the dance culture in my city is huge both structured dance and underground dance which I came from. It’s very competitive with freestyle dance battling. Dancers love to be challenged, so I gave them one with The “DLOW Shuffle”.
K: Growing up in Chicago it seems as if dancing is an excellent way to not only be entertaining but to stay focused and stay out of trouble. Do you see many other young people following that path?
D: Yes, that’s my mission. I set out to create a positive trend that my peers could follow without being called uncool or a lame for participating.
K: We know that you are a man of many talents. Your song “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me” charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in November. Are you finding that your dancing career is launching your rap career?
D: Dance was the door way to being acknowledged. I have many gifts that I plan on sharing with the world, dance was just the first step. My goal is to be a great all around performer.
K: Have you landed any major choreography jobs due to your popularity?
D: Yes, I have helped choreography dances for a few artists based out of Chicago, the most known artist from the bunch is Chance the Rapper.
K: Who is that ONE person in your family that just can NOT catch on to your dance no matter how many times you teach them?
D: My uncle Will. I try to teach him but he always ends up doing his own thing.
Tickets for all tour dates are on sale now at www.livenation.com
For more information visit: Let’s Dance The Tour 2016