Face to face with Jabbawockeez
At the beginning of the Jabbawockeez’ Jreamz show at the MGM Grand, there’s a number featuring the dancers in red outfits and gold chains, in a look that deliberately recalls the dance troupe’s winning performances on the first season of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew in 2008. For Jabbawockeez founding member Kevin “KB” Brewer, seeing that routine always takes him back to the excitement and wonder of the troupe’s early successes. “That’s one of my favorite pieces, because it really does bring back that nostalgia,” he says. “I remember what it felt like to take that (championship), and it was just so surreal that was happening. So every time I see that routine, I’m just thinking, ‘Wow, man, that’s the reason why we’re here in this theater right now with these people.’ It’s been a blessing.”
“A blessing” may be the best way to describe how Brewer regards the Jabbwockeez’ continued popularity, from the Jreamz show (which opened in 2015) to the group’s custom performances for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and partnerships with brands like Coca-Cola, Samsung and Chinese conglomerate Huawei. Although Brewer himself rarely performs onstage in Vegas anymore, he’s still deeply involved in every aspect of the production, always working on crafting new routines and set pieces. “I do get a chance to check in and wiggle with those guys from time to time, but most of my dancing is just these little one-offs,” he says. “(That’s) pretty much most of the original guys. We’re still very much active, just in a different capacity.”
The Jabbawockeez brand is in capable hands with the current cast of Jreamz, which includes a rotating group of 13 dancers onstage. Thanks to the Jabbwockeez’ signature white masks, though, the focus is on the collective rather than any individual performer. Jreamz stars a pajama-clad dreamer character named PJ, but it could be any dancer behind the mask, playfully grooving to a range of songs, miming along with movie clips (everything from Three Amigos to The Matrix) and interacting with audience members. “We get the people smiling, we get them comfortable enough to act a little goofy,” Brewer says of the crowd participation, which may include mimicking Jabbawockeez dance moves or participating in a fake “marriage” ceremony with one of the dancers. “They just love what we do, and we love bringing that out of them. I can’t remember a time when a person didn’t at least try to follow along.”
Jreamz is just the latest iteration of the Jabbawockeez’ Vegas stage show, which first launched with MÜS.I.C. at the former Monte Carlo in 2010. Heading into its 10th year in town, the troupe has become a staple of Vegas entertainment, and hope to be here for a long time to come, delighting and inspiring audiences. “It’s called Jreamz because we want people to follow theirs,” Brewer says of the show’s message. “Hopefully opportunities come just by you following your dreams.” For the Jabbawockeez, they certainly have.
MGM Grand, 7 p.m. Sun.-Mon., 7 & 9:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., starting at $49.99 plus tax and fee, VIP package available. 702.531.3826