Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | June 13, 2011

KILLER MIKE HIT US WITH HIS LATEST “PL3DGE”

 

1. “So Glorious” (Prod. by Smiff & Cash)
2. “That’s Life II” (Prod. by Smiff & Cash)
3. “Ric Flair” (Prod. by Sweatbox Productions)
4. “Ready Set Go” (Feat. T.I.) (Prod. No I.D.)
5.  “Burn” (Prod. by Sweatbox Productions)
6. “Go Out On The Town” (Feat. Young Jeezy) (Raz for Beat Billionaire / Grand Hustle Productions)
7. “God In The Building II” (Prod. by The Beat Bullies)
8. “Players Lullaby” (Feat. Twista & Rock D The Legend) (Prod. by The Bizness)
9. “Animal” (Feat. Gucci Mane) (Prod. by Zone Beats)
10. “American Dream” Big Meech (Prod. by Sweatbox Productions)
11. “Everything (Hold You Down)” (Prod. by Sweatbox Productions
12. “Follow Your Dreams” (Prod. by DJ Speedy)
13. “Swimming” (Feat. Rock D The Legend) (Prod. by Flying Lotus)
14. “Ready Set Go” Remix (Feat. T.I. and Big Boi) (Prod. by No I.D. )

The New Killer Mike album “ PL3DGE”, is something that not only brings music together but also handles reality as well. The first song that you hear, “So Glorious”, you start to hear cohesion of what seems to be a sample infused with voices mixed with pure emotion.  The production for this album is a very well done piece of work; many of the songs on the album could be considered singles just by that alone. Other songs that may catch your attention are “God in the Building II”, which is produced by the Beat Bullies and “American Dream” Big Meech, produced by Sweatbox productions. 

The main single of the album that was the first feature, “Ready, Set, Go” featuring T.I, has a very nice sample but doesn’t measure up to the songs that were previously stated. Killer Mike presents real thoughts and emotions in this song as he discusses guys who have bigger bark than their bite, also to recognize what is real from the fake.  T.I puts his voice and his bravado on the track to give the song its extra edge.

Other songs seem to be just album fillers, songs like “Players Lullaby” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, do not seem to grab the listener’s attention like many of the other tracks do on the album. As Stated before, the “American Dream” is a song that brings the listener into some thought, not just a regular song talking about whips and cars but some of the history of America. “American Dream” is a song that not only motivates listeners but it makes them step back, scratch their head and think, “Wow”.

Killer Mike album, “PL3DGE” is an underrated album that is steady looked over for the other popular artists that are on the radio. The thing is, this album is way better than most artists that are on the radio. Most people were unaware of Killer Mike, but with this latest installment, he has opened a new wave of supporters. Many people that have heard the album believe that this is the best thing to come out of the South since Big Boi’s latest installment.  So for all you true hip hop heads, definitely give this album a listen, you will be pleasantly surprised and your ears will thank you for it.

For more informationon the album and Killer Mike, please follow him on Twitter: Twitter.com/Mike_Bigga and check out Myspace.com/grindtimeonline

– Jelani Whitehorne

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 6, 2011

Viva Ceaser!

Chibbz

Chibuikem Nwakanma, who goes by Chibbz is a rising star who resides in Chicago. Born in Nigeria, where he also lived for 12 years, he has a unique sound. Chibbz currently attends Columbia College Chicago, where he studies Music Marketing. He has recently released his first mixtape “Rap Ceaser”, which has gotten alot of good reviews from reputable Hip-hop blogs, such as Datpiff and Andwepresent.  Chibbz sits with DAS Chicago to talk about his take on Hip-hop.

Mixtape Cover

Das Chicago: What drew you into writing?
Chibbz: Poetry and bad experiences when I reminisce over shit. I write most times for my own therapy because I spent a lot of time by myself. So writing is an escape, it’s also a way to express my appreciation for the culture of Hip-hop.

DC: So you would classify yourself strictly as a Hip-hop artist?
C: I am not just a Hip-hop artist. I have a deep appreciation for all types of music but my core is Hip-hop because it inspired me to want to be a part of the music world.

DC: What is it about Hip-hop that drew you to it?
C: The raw honesty of it. The delivery of the words and messages are not diluted like other  genres of music. It is more intricate than most genres except for country music because you can easily tell a story and Hiphop has the best story-tellers in the history of music. Artists like Nas, Jay-Z, Ice-cube and Biggie Smalls.

DC: Is there a specific time of the day that you write?
C: I don’t really have a specific time to write. I write whenever I get inspired. Words just come to me and if I happen to have a writing utensil on me, I’ll jot it down so I can remember it later.

DC: You mentioned “honesty” with Hip-hop, would you say that your most cherished work is linked to your moments of “honesty”?
C: Yea, If I’m not able to express my honesty through Hip-hop, I would lose my taste for Hip-hop. Hip-hop is rooted from honesty. The boldness of the founding fathers of Hip-hop is the reason why Hip-hop is even recognized today. Songs like: “911 is a joke” by Public Enemy and “Straight outta Compton” by N.W.A were reflections of  the honesty that made Hip-hop what it is.

Mixtape Back Cover

DC: DAS Chicago promotes a healthy lifestyle through Art. What is your normal day like?
C: I spend ALOT of time with family. If I’m not at school, I do what independent artists do. I’m either   recording, listening to beats or promoting my product. I’m trying to build my brand.

DC: What would you say causes tension in your daily life?
C: I’m a student so school of course and relationships with certain people. I’m starting a video company, a field that I know nothing about but I have an interest in so that’s another thing that I have on my plate.

DC: How do you deal with stress?
C: I work with time. I have different goals and I set them at different times. I try not to double-book so I have enough time to commit to what I’m doing at that moment. But generally, like I mentioned earlier, music is my escape and I use it to unwind.  I listen to all kinds of music depending on my mood. When I’m stressed, I listen to up-tempo music to boost my mood.

DC: How long do you think you are gonna be writing for? Would you consider it a hobby or a career goal?
C: I see myself writing till I get arthritis. Except for that I’m going to write for the rest of my life or till the world blows up.  I see it as a hobby because I enjoy doing it and also a career goal because I can’t see myself doing anything else.

DC: 10 years ago would you have taught that this would be part of your future?
C: Hell no.  I come from a background that doesn’t see music as a real career but I loved music growing-up. I was a huge Micheal Jackson fan.

DC: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
C:  In the next 5 years? I haven’t thought that far but I hope to be successful as a recording artist. Later on in life, I want to be behind the desk representing other great artists.


Interview with True Star Radio on Power 92.3 Chicago

For more on Chibbz, Visit his official youtube page ChibbzCeaser.

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

Traveling: In the words of popular music artists

(Chris Brown travels in style on tour, well not really)

I have always wanted to see how life on the road for certain artists were ever since I worked with Chris Brown in 2007. At that time, Chris Brown was on tour headlining, called the Up Close and Personal Tour”. There were many times I over heard people discussing the trials of how hard it can be as a professional entertainer to travel so much and wondered how other artists felt about their daily schedules. For a couple of weeks, in March, I went to interview a few artists on how they feel about traveling.

It seems like every Tuesday or Thursday; a new music artist would come in town while I have a million classes and mess my whole schedule up. Through the times I have met up with various producers and artists, I have also seen how hectic they travel from town to town. K Michelle, a very soulful female 3 R&B singer, was in town during the first round of the NBA playoffs. I met her downtown at her hotel with her management Bobby and Delante. “Man, yesterday and the day before that we were in LA shooting a music video, I really haven’t slept in 72 hrs” says Bobby, who has been with the singer for a couple of years since she came on to the scene.

Being a popular music singer is more than glitz glamour and music. Traveling takes a TOLL on a music artist when they have a busy schedule. “Yesterday I was shooting a video in LA and today I’m here eating and sitting with you in Chicago” says K Michelle who took time out her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her new song, “How Many Times”. She was to perform at a show later that day at The Shrine and then go and do press with JET/Ebony magazine that day.

“Traveling is apart of the grind. That’s how you are going to make your money” says an executive from Universal Music Group. I met up with Hip hop act Travis Porter as well a couple weeks ago downtown Chicago and asked what a day in the life was for them. “Just the other day, we were in New York premiering our new video on 106 & Park. The next day, it’s on the road to Chicago, a couple days later another city” says Strap of Travis Porter.

Seems like traveling is not only a big part of an artists schedule but is essential for them to stay relevant. A representative from Warner Brothers Music Group “In order for you to get your records played, you have to travel and meet people. As an artist you have to show your face.”

As someone that really wants to delve into the music business scene, this excites me. I LOVE to travel, and understand that the grind of working in the industry will not only be hectic, but a better person. I have traveled so much in my life that its become second nature to me and love the feeling of going from one place to another. Going to meet artists at their hotels and/or meeting them at radio can only  have me dream of the time my time comes, one day in Chicago, next night in New York, next morning in Los Angeles. That is something, I will surely look forward to as I continue to work my ranks up in the music industry.

-Jelani Whitehorne

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

Jerk Movement: From the West Coast to Chicago’s North Side

Remember the interview with the New Boyz and how they were discussing the Jerk and reject dance? Ever since they have been popular, they have not only taken the west coast by storm but also the Midwest. Many students, mostly high schoolers and first year college students, have taken the trend and have started to not only learn to jerk but to also infuse the popular dance with the Chicago urban dance known as the footwork. Footworking has been a Chicago trend ever since break dancing in inner city became popular. In an earlier post, you can find Travis McDaniel discuss in further detail about Foot working.

After I chatted with the New Boyz at Metro, I went into a local McDonalds to grab a bite to eat before the show started. Many students from DePaul and Loyola started to come into it as well discussing the show that night. Most of the fans of the New Boyz that were male, discussed with me about what the jerk movement brings to Chicago. “Jerking brings a style that we can use in our techniques with our dancing, it’s like something new and fresh” says Sean Jordan, 18, of Oak Park. Sean was with some friends who also were rocking some pretty tight zebra print jeans that the New Boyz was very popular from. “Jerking brings out a competition, people love seeing how you can infuse the new dances of jerking, the footwork and the dougie” One female that was in the group, Allaina Roberts a former Vibe magazine intern, discussed to me about how big the jerking movement has been in Chicago “Man its had a huge influence in Chicago, its amazing how dudes went from saggy and baggy jeans to tight leggings!”

(Male in skinny jeans, who is associated with the Jerk Movement)

The jerk movement in Chicago has been an influence on a lot of the younger generation that were once afraid to be away from the norm. “Kids who like to skate board, like small tees and fitting jeans now feel apart of the popular kids because of the trend” says Briana, 18, that attends Walter Payton High School. “They aren’t weird or lames anymore, they are now cool and trendy”. I asked her what she felt about the movement as a whole from the clothes fitting than hanging off and she says, “Some guys take to the extreme, I see more dudes wearing jean leggings I might purchase than females that need to!”

The jerk movement seems to have mostly target urban kids than live on the north side more than students than live on any other side of Chicago. “Theres more stores like Leaders (672 North Wells Street) and Jugrnaut (427 S.Dearborn) on this side of town who carter to our lifestyle of clothing. They understand what our generation likes and whats popular” says Sean. As soon as the New Boyz came out, Sean and his friends started doing fancy tricks on the dance floor as soon as “You’re a Jerk” came through the speakers.

“Doing the Reject and Jerking is just something fun, something you can entertain your friends with”, ends Sean once the show began.

-Jelani Whitehorne

At D.A.S, we try to highlight the many people that are succeeding in the fields of music, dance or acting. The New Boyz are a duo that not only rap, but have created a name for themselves and a culture, known as the “Jerk Movement”. Their first single, “You’re a Jerk”, blazed through airwaves and peoples ears in the summer of 2008 as they had people worldwide learning the dance. A couple years later, they continued their hard work and kept the buzz going working on their second album,”Too Cool To Care”. While they were in town for a show, I linked up with them via their Manager, Ben J’s father, Marc, as  they were doing sound check at the north side Chicago club The Metro.

DAS Chicago: What’s going on readers? I’m here with them New Boyz
Legacy: What’s up?

(me and the New Boyz, Legacy and Ben J)

Legacy, Me and Ben J after the interview at their backstage area
DC: So what’s going on with you guys?
Ben J: Just chilling right now man, we are at sound check in Chicago
L: We also have a new album out called Too Cool to Care so we are on a radio promotional tour run for that as well.
BJ: Doing it big.

DC: So you guys were in Australia a couple weeks back, how was that experience for you?
L: You were there?

DC: Oh no I just heard about it and saw pictures.
BJ: That tour was crazy! That was one of the biggest tours we were on. Shout out to all the artists that were on there, (Bow Wow, Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg). We had a lot of fun on the tour.

DC: So let’s take a step back into the past and how you came on the scene with “You’re a Jerk.” You guys created a dance movement that had kids from six years old to the elderly learning the dance. What exactly is the dance and how did it become popular?

L: The jerk is the movement of the legs where people groove. Everyone thinks the jerk is the reject, which is the dance with the backwards running motion. It started in Los Angeles and was a gang banging dance originally, then teenagers seen the dance and started to adopt it. We made a song about the dance, which was our first single.

You’re a Jerk Music Video by the New Boyz (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUGyAHSQhpo)
DC: So not only have you done that, you have also helped other artists from Los Angeles come into mainstream, most noteworthy, the Rejectz. How do you feel about them expanding the movement?

BJ: Shout out to the bros! They are doing their thing. They are doing it for the youth as well and having fun with what they got. We will defiantly jump onto the movement.
L: They are the homies from Los Angeles so it’s great to see them doing their thing. They were actually in our first ever music video so shout outs to them!

J: You guys also have your own style with the skinny jeans. Now were the skinny jeans apart of the movement?
BJ: Yes sir the skinny jeans were defiantly part of the movement. The jerking movement was not only just a dance but a whole culture. It was like a business and helped young kids to grow more business orientated by branding themselves.

New Boyz cover for their first album, Skinny Jeans and A Mic
DC: Tell us about your album, Too Cool to Care?
BJ: Yes sir, the album, which has the single “Backseat” and a new song featuring Big Sean “I Don’t Care” that’s spinning, shout out to Big Sean! Too Cool to Care is a well put together album. We have a lot of dope tracks and along with it as well.

Album cover for their latest Album, Too Cool To Care
DC: How is this different from your debut album?
L: Us as artists, we definitely grew from that because our first album came out in 2009, but we recorded it in 2007/08. It’s an old album and like as artists our lyrics got better and just what we are into nowadays has changed from before hand. So the album is pretty much the same feel, but just improved.

New Boyz- Backseat

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=herLMUn2-U0&feature=channel_video_title)

DC: What advice do you have for upcoming artists that are trying to be in your shoes?
L: Stay grinding, be humble and study your craft. Don’t come in here thinking that you’re going to get a deal. Know the game, know all the big words, and read in between the lines and the fine print. Just study your craft.
BJ: Study your craft and stay dedicated.

DC: Thanks again for taking time out!
Legacy and Ben J: No problem, appreciate it!

For more on the New Boyz, please check out http://www.thenewboyz.com/ and also http://www.youtube.com/user/NewBoyzTV

-Jelani Whitehorne

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

Drop-In!

The Second City Chicago

With over 50 years of experience, The Second City Training Center remains the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world. It is well known for training stars such as Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, John Belushi and so many more right here in the heart of Chicago! The Second City offers variety of courses from acting to stand-up to writing and directing, even musical improv.

Alumni's of The Second City

When I heard that The Second City offers Drop-In Improv classes, I couldn’t resist to go see for myself. The Drop-In class is exactly what it sounds like. You don’t have to register to take the Drop-In class. You simply just show up on time for the class. The Drop-In class is open to all levels of improvisers- from those who have never improvised in their life to those doing it for a living.You can either observe a class or participate and it’s a great opportunity to practice, relax and meet new people.

When I visited The Second City, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was just amazed and thrilled that I was in the same program that Steve Carell once was a part of and probably in the same room that he studied! I came with an open mind, ready to learn and have fun! The building was enormous, I even got lost on my way to the bathroom.  The class was small, it consisted of twelve students, including myself. To start off the class, we played a game of birth.  The rule of the game was to line up in order of birth, by month and day without talking. The most interesting part about it was that the class just started and we didn’t even know each others names so we definitely didn’t know the order of birthdays but surprisingly we got the order right.  The other warm-up game was to line up in order of height but with our eyes closed, we got that order right also.  The energy in the room was incredible. Everyone was really friendly, open and honest.

The Second City

I had a tremendous experience at The Second City! In only two hours, I became friends  with twelve awesome people! Although from different backgrounds and occupations, we all wanted to have fun. We were all willing to try things out of the ordinary, such as staring at someone for a minute without breaking focus, and that made my experience even more enjoyable. Although we all just met, there was a level of trust already built.  Within the duration of the class, I felt connected to the people who were totally strangers at first.

My night was full of laughs and delights.  Although it was finals week and I had a lot to get done by the end of the semester, I took the time out to get refreshed.  I was burned out by the last week of school and I couldn’t wait to get the semester over with. I was tired of studying and I hated to look at books at that point so I decided to take a day off and clear my mind of school.

The Second City Improv class did just that for me. All the while I was in the class, I totally forgot that I had a final to take the next day. I was freed from the tension I held on to before the class started and when I got home, I was energized and ready to tackle whatever came my way.  That’s the escape that I got from improv. Matt, my instructor said something that stuck with me: “no matter what your occupation is, improv is helpful in life”. This can be translated in so many ways. It is only normal that we get stressed at some point. It’s a part of life that we cannot avoid. The best way to deal with stress is to recognize  it and step away from it. Hours of improv with amazing people did just that for me. It didn’t take my exams for me or guarentee me an A,  but it was a quick escape from my reality.  It gave me a chance to re-fuel and it could possibly do the same for you also.

The Second City Drop-In class is on Sundays from 6pm-8pm for only $15. During the summer, there will be an additional class on Wednesdays from 10pm-midnight.  For more information, visit secondcity.com

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

A City Where You Can Have The Time Of Your Life


Located on 1616  N.Wells, in Lincoln Park of the Northside of Chicago. Second City is a place that has the exact thing to relieve the stress of everyday life. If you are a fan of comedy and improv acting, this is where you should be. Second City opened its doors on a snowy Chicago night in December of 1959. No one could have guessed that this small cabaret theatre would become the most influential and prolific comedy theatre in the world.Founded by world re known Viola Spolin’s son, Paul Sills, along with Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, The Second City has made a name that every actor or comedian has wanted to be a part of.
Comedy is such a big part of the Chicago acting scene right now. Comedians from all over come here to either make a career for themselves or take it to the next level.With the debut of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, populated by Second City Alums John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner, the theatre became internationally known for its ever increasing roster of comedy superstars. The interesting thing about Second City is the personal aspect of the environment. The actors/comedians are regular people. They interact with the audience and the audience loves that. Second City is unique in the way that notn only can you meet interesting people, you can find other things to unwind from a hard day at work or school.
Second City has a theater called the Sky Box, a lounge area that you can have a drink or two plus, it has other theatres close by, if you want to catch a number of different plays that Second City puts together. In addition to that, Second City has a comedy school if anyone is interested in learning improvisation.

When I went into this wonderful place, I was in awe of the electricity in the room. Ther was laughter and plenty of it. The room was packed from wall to wall. As I got a seat to enjy myself, I was greeted by a guy by the name Stephon Jackson. Stephon is a teacher from the Second City Comedy School.Stephon was nice enough to take me through a little history of Second City and of himself.
Come to find out Stephon has been working at the Second City Comedy School for five years. His take of comedy was that,     “ If you laugh, you dont have time to cry. Laughing is so good for the soul. You feel relaxed and anything you were thinking about leaves your mind” That was so true, I thought to myself. As the night progressed, I noticed the room becoming more filled. And as more people came in, the more people I was introduced to by Stephon. One person Carey, who I will never forget, is a vibrant woman that had a smile from ear to ear. I shook her hand and she asked me how I liked the place. I told her I loved it. In turn, I asked her, “ What do you love about Second City?” She replied, “Everything! The people, the place, the fun, and the laughter. Oh, did I mention, EVERTHING!”

Overall, Second City is a great place. If you have at least ten dollars,(that is the minimum to get in, twenty-four dollars for prime seating) in your pocket and you want somewhere to go. Also, if you don’t mind prices that remind you of your downtown Bar and Grill’s,(Drinks varying from seven to twenty-five dollars, and sandwiches ranging from four dollars, up to thirteen). This is your place to get a laugh, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Go and enjoy. I sure did!

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

Why Are All Those Girls Covered In Blood

I’ll tell you why. Because this is  BLOOD WRESTLING! Forget about that bar out in the boonies that features girls wrestling around in oil or mud once a month. You can leave that stuff out in the country where it belongs. Chicago is the capital of all things extreme, and what is more extreme then a night of loud music, good beer, and half naked chicks grappling and wrestling in an inflatable pool filled with fake blood? Yeah, I said it. The blood is fake. Are you relieved? It’s just some corn syrup and red food coloring with a little bit of warm water in there so the girls don’t freeze. The shows happen about once a month and are the perfect way to unwind after a long week. So relax, sit back, and enjoy the show.



In the beginning, there was Gore in the Whorror. A zomblie film that is currently being filmed on the South Side of Chicago, in the Pilsen neighborhood to be exact. Gore in the Whorror is an ongoing project that was started by three very dedicated individuals: Donna; Fabian; and Tony. They were the original founders of Obscure Productions, the group that produces the movie and puts on the wrestling shows. The blood wrestling shows were started both to raise money for the film and to be an element within it. The basic premise goes like this: a zombie epidemic has struck Chicago. The surviving inhabitants of Pilsen have banded together to protect their turf from the mass of undead. Since even killing zombies can get boring after awhile, the locals throw shows in which bands play, and the Blood Dolls wrestle. The Blood Dolls are members of the Pilsen Mujeres Slashers, one of the local groups, who wrestle at the shows. Why blood? Well, with all the zombie slaying going on everybody’s pretty much covered in it anyways.



According to Donna, the main organizer and promoter for the Blood Wrestling events, “anyone that is into having a good time and loves the obscure things in life should be here. The live music makes it a blast, and the girls wrestling in blood always gets the crowd going. The Blood Doll Shows are a new look at entertainment.”

Some of the local bands that have been featured at the shows include DisrobeVicious AttackEskeHot Lips Messiah,Dead N GoneSoul Pollution and several more. These bands represent many different genres, from Hip Hop, to Punk, to Metal. The girls are mainly local to the Pilsen neighborhood and have been recruited through the network of people involved in the movie and the shows. Having both the local bands playing and the girls wrestling is a great way to get different groups of people together at the show. “I honestly had no idea that this whole blood wrestling thing was going on.”said Steve Weber at one of the shows in March. “I heard that Vicious Attack was playing and came out to support. This was a total added bonus.”

So whether you like extreme music, an extreme stage show, or just want to gawk at all the attractive young ladies, the blood wrestling shows of Obscure Productions are the place to be. For those involved all of the physical activity is a great at relieving stress. If you’re watching in the crowd you’re guaranteed a thrilling show that will leave you feeling excited and exhilarated. To find out when the next show is going to be check out these pages on facebook…

Obscure Productions

Gore in the Whorror

Pilsen Mujeres Slashers


Keep in mind that they’re always looking for more girls to wrestle and volunteers to help out!

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

An amazing Interview with Jessica Menasic

Dancing To The Beat:

An Interview with Jessica Menasic

Jessica Menasic is a bubbly, and outgoing person who,is an avid dancer and social worker who works through dance therapy. Jessica seems to be well grounded when you get to know her. For our interview I met up with Jessica at one of her social functions to talk about her dancing as a way of staying grounded and focused in her crazy and fast-paced schedule.

D.A.S. Hello Jessica. How are you doing?

Jessica: I’m good. So, what would you like to know about me?

D.A.S : Ok. First, tell us about yourself, so our readers know who you are.

Jessica: Well, I’m 28. I am an avid dancer who uses dance to get more involved in social work with inner city youth. I am versed in Hip-hop, jazz, and house dancing.

D.A.S : How long have you been dancing?

Jessica: Since I came out the womb. (laughing) Actually, since I was 10. I’ve always like Hip-hop. My mother made me take tap dancing, and growing up I Just fell in love with house dancing. I’m actually trying to stop myself from dancing right now.

D.A.S :  That sounds so interesting.. What was your thoughts on trying to incorporate dance into your social work?

Jessica: Ok, look at me. I am a little oh white girl. I want to get involved in community in urban communities. How do you do that? Dance is a major pillar in inner city neighborhoods. I figure, “Hey ,to catch people’s attention, you have to do something, unexpected. What better than a white girl teaching dance to help inner city youth.” How does that sound?

D.A.S : That is wonderful. Tell us, Why do you love dance so much?

Jessica: Its sooo fun! I am in a world of my own. Dance just frees my mind from everything going on around me. That is a beautiful feeling.

D.A.S : That sounds fantastic. Do you think that your way of reaching out to the youth will have an effect on people?

Jessica: Oh, definitely. I know it will. I’ve had quite of few people ask questions about how do I know how to do all the new dances and  alot of people ask me,“ How does a white girl learn how to dance like to dance.?” If they are asking questions that means I caught their attention. That is my way to start talking about helping change the scape of their community.

D.A.S.  Well you certainly have something there that no one else has as far as pulling people in to get more involved in the community. Where do you do this dancing, so people can know how to find you?

Jessica: I can be found in a lot of the community recreational centers in the Chicago Park District. I’m based in the Southside of Chicago. If you want to see where I will be next, email me at jmenasic@yahoo.com. Well, I’m sorry but I have to do some “meet and greets”, it has been a pleasure being interviewed and I hope your readers get a chance to know who I am. Hey, You want to come with and get a dance or two afterward?

D.A.S.: Absolutely! I get a chance to see what other people need to check out. Thank you for your time.

Jessica: No problem. Let’s go!

Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

The Dance Scene!

“You go full out until your knuckles bleed!” says Laurie-Ann Gibson, professional choreographer, creative director, and reality T.V. star of the new E! series, The Dance Scene. Yes, another dance show. But this dance show isn’t like all of the other popular ones like Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance where all you see are breath-taking performances, on-stage action, and critiques. The Dance Scene gives its audience a perspective of what goes on behind the scenes of the Hollywood dance industry, specifically Laurie-Ann’s dance world. It demonstrates the lifestyle of professional dancers and what they do to compete for opportunities to perform with high-profile music artists. Ryan Seacrest, the executive producer of the show, states, “Dance is at the center of pop culture — today more than ever — and Laurieann is an amazing force accelerating this huge wave of creativity. This series gives audiences an insider’s view of how competitive the dance world is, the talent and ambition that a dancer needs to be successful in the Hollywood scene, and the drama that ensues along the way.” But wait, this show isn’t just for dancers! There’s even some real-life situations that have nothing to do with dance, especially for non-dancers to relate to. For instance, Laurie-Ann has been dating her boyfriend for four years privately, but now she wants to be public with him. What ever will they do? Not only that, but if interested in picking up a few new tricks or warm-up techniques, The Dance Scene is where to find them. Consider it reality, education, and entertainment all mixed into one show. What better way to relax and prepare for the new week every Sunday night with a new episode of The Dance Scene?

Many know Laurie-Ann best as the choreographer of the Queen Monster, Lady Gaga. Who wouldn’t want to see where those high-energy dance moves come from? Along with Laurie-Ann on the show are other dancers and her assistant choreographers. Richy Jackson is Laurie-Ann’s lead choreographer, as well as a prospective solo music artist. He thrives in his own spotlight, so don’t get in his way! Kherington Payne, most known for starring in Fame, is sweet and motivated, but perhaps one of the weaker characters seen so far in the show. Laurie-Ann can make her cry, but Kherington will do anything to get to the top. Sarah Mitchell, another assistant choreographer, is everywhere in the dance world at only twenty-six years old and with more than twenty-five roles in other movies and T.V. shows . She was recently in Burlesque with Christina Aguilera and Cher. Paula Van Oppen, long time dance competitor, is evidently Laurie-Ann’s favorite. “Beautiful, Paula” or “Nice job, Paula” is nothing new to her ears. Lacee Franks is Laurie-Ann’s assistant and roommate. Yes, roommate. Laurie-Ann’s “boom kat” music counting in the studio are just not enough; Lacee gets to hear it at home too!

Trust me, the competitive dance world is not always so pleasant. Lisa Berger, executive vice president of programming at E!, says, “The competitive world of the professional dancer is grueling creative work. Watching Laurie-ann mentor these young artists, who will do anything to make it in the business, gives us a glimpse into a world where the pursuit of success and excellence outweighs all else.” With so many performances, rehearsals, sucking up to Laurie-Ann, and, of course, drama, life at the Boom Kack Dance studio is full of sweat and tears. But everyone knows that they can only benefit from being a part of Laurie-Ann’s team, and this is why they all have the drive to keep going. For the characters and other people featured in the show, it’s an honor and a dream-come-true to be working for the extraordinary Laurie-Ann Gibson.

Check out The Dance Scene every Sunday night at 10:30/9:30central!

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