A pair of young Nanaimo dancers are back in the running for a $1-million prize.
Jacksun Fryer, 17, and Deeya Sharma, 13, are returning to compete on the NBC program World of Dance. The local duo will be part of a team called Gigabots, coached by Vibe Dance Studio instructor A.J. (MegaMan) Kambere.
While Gigabots specialize in street dance, World of Dance includes dancers of all styles. Returning as judges are Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough. Season 4 premières on May 26 and Fryer and Sharma said they both plan to tune in.
“We’re actually all super excited to see it,” Sharma said.
The Nanaimo residents were looking to improve upon their performances from last year. Fryer’s duo Funkanometry, featuring current Gigabots member Carlow Rush of Duncan, made it through three out of the five rounds. Sharma’s group Minibots, which has been absorbed into Gigabots, made it to the qualifiers round and was eliminated in Round 1.
Both dancers said their experience from last year helped them prepare for this year’s competition.
“I feel like I got all the super scary nerves out of the way and this time I still got nervous, but it wasn’t as bad as the first time,” Sharma said. “I feel like I knew how many people were going to be there and what the love and support was already going to feel like, so I feel like that helped a lot.”
“Going a second time we knew what had to happen. We knew the focus it takes,” Fryer said. “Because the first time was kind of like a guess. It’s something brand new and we don’t really know. But the second time, for Season 4, we were prepared.”
Kambere built Gigabots from nine of his dancers from the Island and the Lower Mainland. Both Fryer and Sharma have been students of his for years.
“It’s always great to work with A.J. Obviously his stuff works, it got us on the show twice, which is crazy to think still,” Fryer said. “But when we’re working with him it’s not so serious. We get to goof off but when it’s time to grind he’ll make us put in the work because he knows what our goal is and he knows what we want, so he helps us get there.”
Fryer, a team captain, said each Gigabots dancer has their specialties and in the group’s performances they give space to highlight individual dancers. He said he and Rush focus on funk, while as “one of the littlest people in the group,” Sharma said she brings “the aggression that you don’t see coming from a 13-year-old girl.”
“Everyone kind of has these special skills and when we’re put together it creates a really dope team,” Fryer said.