I was a big-time devotee of America’s Best Dance Crew during it’s first season, but after Jabbawockeez won their well deserved title, I lost interest quickly–mostly because the crews all started blending together. Once in a while I hear about the current impressive crews, and I wanted to talk about two of them in particular.
Vogue Evolution is responsible for achieving a few firsts in ABDC history; notably, the first openly gay crew, and the first transgender contestant. VE is notable for placing Leiomy, a transwoman, at the front of their crew, and with good reason. As you can see in the above clip, she is a stunning dancer. Something that struck me even more than her awesome dance moves, though, was that the judges don’t seem to call excessive attention to the fact that Leiomy is trans–they mostly talk about how talented she is. Despite that, I can’t really shake the feeling that Vogue Evolution is this season’s “novelty crew”. They have the kind of small, dedicated fanbase that always seems to pull the more colorful crews through until there are only three or four crews left, but not far enough to win the competition. Leiomy is also starting to be portrayed as more and more of a diva, which concerns me. I know it’s problematic to think of one member of a community as representative of the entire community, but whether it’s through Leiomy’s ego or the show’s editors, I’m afraid she’s beginning to encapsulate some of the negative stereotypes about transwomen.
Another fantastic crew is “We are Heroes”. I fear they fall into the category of yet another ill-fated all female crew. It seems like season after season there’s at least one really great crew made up of women, who seem to make it through three quarters of the show on the novelty factor while constantly being praised by the judges for overcoming the need to be girly and delicate that they feel is always present in female contestants. Whatever their fate may be, they’re a pleasure to watch: