Elite Force Crew makes an appearance at Change the Game
Elite Force is a hip-hop dance crew that began dancing in the clubs in Brooklyn, N.Y. After performing with Michael Jackson in his 1992 music video Remember the Time, Buddha Stretch, Link and Loose Joint, formed Elite Force Crew, a name Loose Joint says they based on themselves as high calibre dancers.
“We had this bond, that really was kind of unique because the way we all danced –the three of us had different styles, but we worked really well together as a unit, mixing with each other in a freestyle way,” Loose Joint says. “We could imitate each other’s moves very closely, whereas a lot of other people couldn’t really get into that kind of style that we had. That was part of the elite thing, and it was a force that we had, it was our bond.”
In 1995, Ejoe 12 and Brooklyn Terry joined the crew which then performed in Mariah Carrie’s Fantasy video. Bobby Mileage, another addition to the Elite Force Crew, got his big break when he danced with Will Smith in the Men in Black music video.
This group of men is said to be the trailblazers of hip-hop dance and are known globally for their work. Although they do not work together as often as they would like, they all spread the same message: They want to inspire.
“We don’t go out with the sole purpose, ‘We’re going to inspire everybody tonight!’ That sounds kind of corny, but hopefully we can reach one person in the audience, and from that one person feeling us, they will go out, spread the word and spread the culture of dance and enjoy this culture the way we do,” Brooklyn Terry says.
Loose Joint agrees and believes inspiration can be generated because of the uniqueness of the crew. He says they have always been trendsetters on stage with their own styles and the way the move, even though they pay homage to other styles and crews.
“It’s about being innovative. I hope we can continue to be innovative. I hope we can work together more, because we don’t get together as much as we should,” he says. “We have all of our own separate careers, and we’re all spread out, so it’s not easy for us to make it happen.”
This is another aspect of the crew they can all agree on.
“Because everyone is so individually talented, it’s like a gift and a curse at the same time. It’s a gift because we all get to go out and do whatever, but it’s a curse because we don’t usually get to go out as a crew anymore,” Brooklyn Terry says. “The last time we were all working together was in Switzerland almost three years ago.”
However, from Aug. 17 to Aug. 22, the three members of the Elite Force Crew were in Calgary for a project called Change the Game.
Change the Game came from the mind of Bobby Mileage, with the goal to educate dancers in street dance culture. The bonus? Nightly dance battles leading up to a finale where dancers compete for $60,000 in cash prizes.
Mileage, Brooklyn Terry and Loose Joint joined forces at Change the Game at the University of Calgary’s MacEwan Hall, culminating for the “Main Event” held Aug. 22.
“I had a vision of trying to do this and giving back, and creating a situation where dancers can learn from great innovators and pioneers and also trying to change street dancers lives. Of course, I’m going to get the best — and there’s nobody better than my crew as far as giving the real knowledge of hip-hop, but being able to show the freestyle forms of house dance and hip-hop,” Mileage says.
Of course every great plan must go through trials and tribulations. Mileage tried to make this project a reality a year ago, but dealt with a setback after a corporate sponsor backed out at the last minute.
“When I had this vision last year — it was called History in the Making — they cancelled it on me. I was floored by it. But in my TED Talk, you know, I’m this type of person who will find a way back. So I did that. I went hard, and I found a way to make it happen on my own, without a corporate sponsor. I became the corporate sponsor – Bobby Mileage Clothing — and Pulse Studios became the sponsor to do this event because we were going to get back and show the world it’s time to give back to dancers. Right now it’s the time to give back to our community, to our culture.”
Setbacks seem to push each member of the crew to work harder to follow their dreams. For Brooklyn Terry, that means continuing to grow Speakeasy, a grassroots DJ festival held at various times of the year in Tokyo.
“I’m trying to create this festival that will travel around the world.”
For Mileage, his goal is to elevate Change the Game to a level where the prize money grows, the amount of dancers increases and the levels at which the judges adjudicate gets progressively more difficult.
“I’m trying to make this something that will get everybody where they should be and change lives continuously.”
Loose Joint plans to open a dance school in Brooklyn where aspiring dancers can get the information, advice and education they need to become the best dancers they can be.
“I have a lot of experience to help kids move in a good, independent direction,” Loose Joint says. “A lot of times they have talent but they don’t have enough mentors to show them the way.”
Even though Change the Game was a local event, people from around the world competed while learning more about dance culture.
In the end, Bboy Gomo, from Calgary, was one of the top four break-dancers that also included Bboy Morris (USA), Bgirl JK-47 (Canada), and another local Calgarian, Bboy Farzam. Breaking is one of the four categories judged at Change the Game as well as popping, hip-hop, and house.
The champions — Americans JRock, Riceball, King Charles and Morris — walked away with $12,000 and a year’s sponsorship with Bobby Mileage Clothing.
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