8 Flavahz ready for ‘ABDC’ run
BY GARY CHUN / firstname.lastname@example.org
The young women of 8 Flavahz have a definite — and needed — bond between members of the tight-knit group from Hawaii and Los Angeles.
With big dreams of being the best crew of hip-hop dancers in the country, they’ll appear on national television and compete for a $100,000 cash prize on MTV’s “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew” starting Wednesday, April 11.
‘Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew’
New episodes air at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on MTV
8 Flavahz hopes to surpass the success another Hawaii group, Hype 5-0, enjoyed two years ago when that troupe fought its way up to the semifinal round.
Twelve-year-olds Camren Bicondova and Summer Waikiki and 17-year-old twins Tamara and Tiara Rapp will join their L.A. compatriots — Angel Gibbs, Charlize Glass, Kay Kay Harris and Jaira Miller — in representing not only themselves on this season’s “ABDC,” but the hard work of choreographers Marcelo Pacleb and Kelsey Park from the successful local dance studio 24-VII Danceforce.
All of the Hawaii girls developed their skills at the studio, one that has a reputation for developing talent that has backed up such pop superstars on stage as Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.
8 Flavahz were in rehearsal in L.A. since March 24, and taping of the first episode of the “ABDC” competition happened on Saturday. Wednesday’s episode will include a segment follows the Hawaii girls to the Polynesian Cultural Center, filmed by a MTV just before they left for L.A.
The girls and their mothers were gathered one afternoon two weeks ago at the Windward Mall dance studio to reflect on what had led up to this moment.
“The group was originally called Flavahz Crew, made up of seven studio girls that include the current four. They auditioned last year for ‘ABDC,’ but didn’t make it.” said Camren’s mom Jessi Bicondova.
But one of the show’s judges, D-Trix, asked them to come back the following year.
“Cam, Tam, Tiara and Summer later went to a dance convention in L.A., and met and hit it off with the four girls from there. They invited the L.A. girls to join them at the World of Dance competition here, where they met Marcelo, and it was decided that they would audition with this new lineup.”
This time around, it was a success, and they were newly dubbed 8 Flavahz by MTV, with each girl representing a color of the rainbow and, according to the show’s press release, holding fast to a motto to “honor and appreciate the diversity of all people through movement.”
BEFORE THE intense rehearsal time leading up to the show’s taping, the crew conducted practices via Skype.
Even though the girls are away in L.A., they’re keeping up with their school work, with Camren continuing her online studies from the K12 International Academy, and Summer and the twins from Kamehameha Schools and the Myron B. Thompson Academy, respectively.
In the case of Camren, online is the way to go, considering that she regularly travels to-and-from the mainland, working as an “elite protégé” for the “Pulse on Tour” international dance conventions, helping choreographers with students ages 8 to 13 in various cities.
The Bicondova family moved here from San Diego as part of Camren’s father’s tour-of-duty as a Navy SEAL.
“My daughter has blossomed here in Hawaii,” Jessi Bicondova said. “The whole ohana vibe has been great for our family.”
Everyone concerned spoke highly of Pacleb.
“He can see the potential in the kids,” said mother Tani Rapp (who’s oldest daughter is currently in Europe with Cirque du Soleil), “and since he’s gotten some of his other dancers to work with top-notch acts, the kids can also see the progress they can make.”
“We used to watch all of 24-VII’s concerts,” said Tamara Rapp before she and her sister Tiara had to leave to dance in a hair fashion show. “With the help of Marcelo, we’ve grown a lot as dancers,” added Tiara Rapp.
For Summer Waikiki, she’s taking a temporary leave-of-absence from hula dancing in Kapua Dalire Mo‘e’s Halau Ka Liko Pua o Kalaniakea.
“I have a passion for both of them, hula and hip-hop,” she said, “but this is more hard-hitting.
“We’ve been training for this over the past year,” Summer said. “And we have each other to push ourselves harder,” added Camren.