The Rise Dance Crew from Gilbert strives to rise above their differences in an effort to spread a message of unity as they battle for a spot on NBC’s World of Dance show.
The group of nine, ranging in age from 17 to 26, formed in 2017, after meeting at the Elecktro Dance Academy.
With members from all different ethnicities, political backgrounds, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs, it’s their love for hip hop that keeps them banded together.
“We are accepting of each other,” said crew member Isaiah Aguiling. “We have those hard conversations, but we also support the person and then get back to our goal of dancing together.”
Shortly after becoming a group, the crew auditioned for Season 3 of World of Dance in 2018, but didn’t make it past the first round.
Aguiling said the rejection only fueled them to work harder in order to prepare for the next season of auditions.
The Rise trained for months, seeking mentorship and guidance from members of the Elektrolytes Dance Crew who won Season 7 of American’s Best Dance Crew and founded the Elecktro Dance Academy.
The Rise crew practiced two to three times a day in preparation for their audition, sometimes into the early hours of the morning to accommodate each other’s schedules.
“It comes with sacrifice,” said crew member Jay Reyes. “We are willing to give a lot for the Rise family. Everyone is really committed.”
After months or rehearsing, the Rise auditioned for World of Dance again, this time making it past the producers.
To their surprise, they got to perform in front of celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hugh, and Ne-Yo, earning a callback position in this Season’s competition.
Although not an immediate yes, a callback meant the judges saw potential in the crew and were offering them a second chance to perform in hopes of making it on the show.
“With that, we knew we’d have to ramp it up and impress the judges more,” said Reyes. “We got really good critique and it gave us an entire new lens to view it from an entertainment perspective. That was more motivating than demotivating.”
While The Rise has already performed their callback routine, because the episode has not aired yet, they were unable to disclose whether they made it on the show or not.
The crew’s youngest member, 17-year-old Myson Junior, said the experience so far has been a learning opportunity.
“This has opened our eyes in a lot of different ways, both in dance and life,” said Junior. “We learned ways we can improve ourselves, our formula, and how we present our piece to people. It can get stressful with all the practices, or having to redo certain parts, but we’ve grown in overcoming hardships together and it’s strengthened and grown our bond.”
No matter the outcome of World of Dance, The Rise said they hope to continue being an inspiration to those who watch them dance.
“Because of our diversity, we believe that anyone who watches us can connect to any of our members,” said Augiling. “We believe we can represent everyone in that sense. We want to inspire others to ‘rise over’ their limits.”