A Nanaimo dance team’s second trip to NBC’s World of Dance wasn’t quite as epic as the first, but it was still memorable.
“It was a good experience, no matter what,” said Carlow Rush, from Duncan, reflecting on his appearance on season four of the popular program this spring. “No matter how we did, it’s super crazy to go two years in a row.”
Rush appeared on season three as part of the hip-hop dance duo Funkanometry, along with Nanaimo’s Jacksun Fryer, reaching the third round of the junior duo competition and making a lasting impression on judges Derek Hough, Ne-Yo and Jennifer Lopez, who also all returned this year.
When casting season four, producers again contacted choreographer AJ Kambere, who suggested his new popping crew, Gigabots, a combination of Funkanometry and Minibots, who also competed in 2019, where they were eliminated in the first round. In addition to Rush and Fryer, Gigabots also included Nanaimo’s Deeya Sharma, who had been with the Minibots the previous year.
Teaming up with Minibots wasn’t a stretch for Rush, who was already familiar with the dancers.
“I’ve known them all for my whole dance life,” he explained. “We’ve always known the same people and gone to the same events. They’re my good friends.”
Still, the return trip to World of Dance was undeniably different from the first one.
“Everything was a bit more familiar, but it was different because it was with a crew and not just me and Jacksun,” Rush said. “Last year, me and Jacksun could say, ‘Yo, let’s put our arms like this,’ but in a crew, you can’t control everyone, like what the person in the back is doing. It’s harder to have a clean performance with a big group. There are so many more people to look out for.”
This season of World of Dance actually taped in February, just before everything shut down due to COVID-19.
“It worked out really good,” said Rush. “They had heard of coronavirus, but people weren’t taking it as seriously. When it started becoming a big deal, [World of Dance] had just wrapped up.”
Gigabots’ performance to Funkin’ on the One by Ozone was thoroughly enjoyed by the judges,
“It’s undeniable, obviously, we’re smiling,” Hough said to start the adjuducation. “We’re grinning from ear to ear.”
Ne-Yo also had great things to say.
“I liked the contrast,” he said. “Because you guys hit really hard, but when it came time to groove, the groove was there at the same time. But you could be slightly stronger.”
Lopez compared Gigabots’ performance this year to Funkanometry’s last year.
“I mean, you guys [Funkanometry] were a real standout last year, and now you’ve joined forces, and the fusion of the group together, I’m wondering how strong it is,” she said.
While Ne-Yo wanted to give Gigabots a second shot in the call-back round, both Hough and JLo voted no.
Rush is grateful to have had two chances to appear on World of Dance, and he doubts that he would get another opportunity, but he’d be happy to try another similar competition, as long as it was with Funkanometry.
“I would definitely go back to another show with Funkanometry,” he said. “I’m sticking with Jacksun for now. We have chemistry like no other.”
Rush and Fryer did miss a few opportunities due to the pandemic, but have started to practise again. They were careful to quarantine, and when time came to expand their bubbles, it was pretty clear who they were adding.
“We didn’t hang out with anyone else,” Rush said. “If you’re only going to hang out with one friend, for me it has to be Jacksun, and for him it has to be me. We’re trying to make a career of this stuff.”
To keep track of Rush and Fryer, follow them at @funkanometry_ on Instagram and funkanometryofficial on TikTok.