A local dancer’s hip hop moves are earning attention on the international circuit.
Jonel Fabro of The Maples is bringing his unique style of movement to the World DanceSport Games in Kaohsiung , Taiwan, which began Sept. 13 and will run until Sept. 22.
"It’s like the Olympics of dancing," Fabro said. "They gather all sorts of different types of dancers from across the world and they compete. You have everything from salsa and ballroom to line dancing and a new category of hip hop this year."
It’s in the hip hop category that Fabro hopes to make his mark.
"I’m a hip hop freestyler," he said. "My routine is very much improvised. It’s very raw movement. You can’t expect something of it. Music just goes on and I just react to what’s given to me. If the song changes, then I have to change up my style as well."
The 23-year-old dancer is one of the original members of Sikat Dance Company, which was established in 2005.
A group of seven Sikat dancers recently entered the Beat Down competition in Toronto, where they ranked first for the third time. A dance organizer approached the Winnipeg-based crew and invited them to participate in the World DanceSport Games.
Although Fabro wasn’t part of that seven-member team, the lead choreographer arranged to bring him along to compete in a solo hip hop event.
"We have the privilege to go out there and try to win," said Fabro, a fourth-year kinesiology student at the University of Winnipeg.
"The teams have to assemble a two-minute piece, given a specific beat-per-minute rhythm or speed. You have to base your routine off that speed of music. I’ll be given the same kind of mix, but I won’t necessarily be dancing to the same part of the mix."
Talent runs in the family; Fabro credits his sister for fostering his interest in dance.
"She showed me my first dance routine performance off the Internet. Then she noticed that I was pretty into dancing, so she recruited me to the dance group. She was a big part of it," he said.
"I got in that whole dance routine world. But for freestyling and improvising, I was always doing that on my own. I’d see videos and try to replicate what I saw."
Over time, dancing began to gain precedence over his other passion for playing basketball.
"That was my thing before, always playing basketball. I play as much as I can. I’m joining a few recreational teams this season," he said.
"I never really accepted the fact that I was a better dancer than a basketball player. Now it’s sinking in that this dance thing is giving me more crazy opportunities than basketball ever will."
As for the competition, Fabro feels ready to shine in the spotlight on the world stage.
"I’ve always been a mellow fellow. I’ve been in lots of competitions. I went over to Chicago and tried my luck down there. People really seemed to be receptive to what I do," he said.
"As long as I go out there and get some sort of acknowledgement, I’m fine. I’m not nervous at all."