Thursday, July 26, 2012 | 6:25 p.m.
While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our thanks to them all. We continue with dancer Ben Chung of Monte Carlo headliners the Jabbawockeez, who on Aug. 5 at Orleans Arena will receive the Living Legend of Hip Hop Award -- the first time in Hip Hop International’s 11-year history that a dance crew has been honored.
Hello, esteemed readers! It’s your friendly, local masked crusader Ben “B-TEK” Chung of the Jabbawockeez standing in for “Mr. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Robin Leach. I’m no news columnist. I’m just your average guy who appreciates a good heart-to-heart with a friend every now and again, so I hope you have a minute.
Right now, I’m looking out my window, and I see the glow of the illustrious Strip, and it dawns on me: “We have a headlining show on the Las Vegas Strip!” Having a show like “MUS.I.C.” at the Monte Carlo was only but a dream to a group of guys trying to make a name for themselves in the L.A. dance industry a few years ago. Now for a trip down memory lane (cue flashback squiggly lines).
From the crew’s inception in 2003, we, as Jabbawockeez, have always been a band of brothers. We were a bunch of friends who all shared a mutual passion for dance, so we decided to form a crew; it was as simple as that.
As we were all members of other dance companies at that time, we wanted to do something that would conceal our identities. One of our fallen members, Gary “Gee-One” Kendell, had the idea for us to wear masks. We thought it was funny, so we did it. We had no idea that it would be the game-changer.
As soon as our performance videos went viral, we became overnight YouTube sensations. With the responses we were getting from fans all over the world, we soon also gained the attention of TV producers. To honor our fallen member Gary’s desire for the crew, we decided to audition for MTV’s “Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew.” Through our journey on Season 1 of the show, which ended in victory, America became Jabbawockeez fans.
The moment we stepped off the show, our rollercoaster ride began. From numerous tours, TV appearances to commercials, we were moving nonstop. We thought we’d experienced it all until that fateful day when we received news that there was a possibility for a Las Vegas show.
We heard that we had the opportunity to perform for MGM Resorts executives, so we jumped at the opportunity. Just getting the chance to share who we are, and what we’ve been working so arduously over the years to establish, was amazing in and of itself. That little performance was enough for the small gathering of people to see a bright future for the Jabbawockeez on the Strip.
We opened “MUS.I.C.” at the Hollywood Theater in MGM Grand in May 2010, and we were extremely humbled to discover that we would be sharing the same stage with the legendary David Copperfield. We had a very successful run there and soon found out that we would be transitioning over to the Monte Carlo to become a resident show.
From our opening at the Monte Carlo in October 2010, our experience has been nothing short of amazing. To think what started out as a “street crew” is now a headlining show on the Strip -- it blows my mind! We are truly humbled and honored to be a part of this great city’s legacy.
Now we call Las Vegas our home. That’s also something that I never thought I’d say. From the bustling energy of the Strip to the serene milieu of the Red Rock mountains, this town is a goldmine for inspiration.
“MUS.I.C.” is now playing at the Monte Carlo Pavilion from Thursdays through Mondays. The Pavilion provides a very intimate setting that allows us to engage the audience more than ever before. We’re always tweaking our show, so no two are ever the same. Step into the world of the Jabbawockeez, and let the “MUS.I.C.” inspire you! To keep up with us on our journey, follow us on Twitter @Jabbawockeez or check out our Facebook page.
Our thanks to Ben for his street dance down the Jabbawockeez memory lane. Be sure to check out our other guest columns today from Las Vegas’ new pop sensation Lex Rox and Palace Station headliner comedian Louie Anderson. Join us Sunday when our guest columnists are nightlife czar Jack Colton, HGTV’s Allison Victoria and the man who keeps the wine angels flying at Aureole in Mandalay Bay.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.