Interview — Zeppo Youngsterz Takes Body Rock Crown

Discover the captivating journey of Body Rock 2023 champions, as they share their passion, inspiration, and the artistry that brought the Southeast Asian dance scene to the global stage!

Courtesy of Zeppo Youngsterz (@zeppoyoungsterz)

After anticipating the return of Body Rock, we just recently got to witness it come to fruition after a 3-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Since then, we witnessed Body Rock Asia back in February, where three teams were seeded into the main event of Body Rock in San Diego this June.

These teams included Chikletz Family, Street Crew 04, and OxyCrew from the Philippines as well as the winners in 2020 – LSDC Street from the Philippines and Zeppo Youngsterz from Malaysia.

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Come the end of June, Body Rock 2023 took place in San Diego, California. In an exhilarating display of talent, passion, and creativity, the honour of the championship went to none other than Zeppo Youngsterz.

They brought a unique and innovative flair to the stage, combining an ingenious use of the stage, props, and visuals. Their masterpiece showcased a seamless blend of masterful storytelling and contemporary artistry in their movement and synchronisation.

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Following their spectacular victory, we were fortunate to speak to the talented director and choreographer of Zeppo Youngsterz, Faris Azim.

Their humility and dedication to their craft shone through as they shared their insights into their journey and what it meant to win Body Rock 2023.

Dreamfellas: Congratulations on the extraordinary achievement! We thoroughly enjoyed the piece from start to end, could you tell us about the inspiration behind it and how it reflects your crew’s identity?

Faris Azim: What really inspired us is honestly ourselves. We wanted to challenge ourselves and we were trying to outdo our previous dance piece, Ultralight Beam.

Our latest dance piece, Step Out, was inspired by a movie called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We used the original soundtrack from the movie titled Step-Out by Jose Gonzalez. It was a movie that we really related to — from our past journeys, our journey as a dance group and family, to going through our ups and downs.

All these connections helped us feel the piece better and eventually set the concept of this piece to be about trust and fear.

Courtesy of Danial Hyekal (@danialhyekal_)

DFL: Body Rock is known for its tough competition, even known as the Superbowl of dance, where you face exceptional crews from around the world. How did you prepare yourselves to stand out on such a grand stage and make your mark among the global dance community?

Faris: Preparing for Body Rock is already achieving a dance goal for any dancer, but to dance on the stage itself and even win it is another level of achievement I would say.

As the director and choreographer, I would start off by studying the competition and revisiting the criteria of the competition. I follow that by studying other competing teams and studying what the past winners have showcased.

This time, we prepared by playing and exploring with creativity. I believe that everyone can dance, so we wanted to bring in the elements of concept and creativity.

Another additional element, we are actually the only dance crew that was dancing for a whole 4 without leaving the stage, used the LED screen, and brought in props.

Moving forward, I hope that more crews will incorporate concept and storytelling in their pieces, and we hope that our piece and this win could serve as a reference.

Courtesy of Danial Hyekal (@danialhyekal_)

DFL: Your routine conveyed such powerful emotions and narratives. What approach did you take for your choreography to ensure that the audience will resonate and interpret your performance the way you intended?

Faris: We really wanted to grab the attention of the audience and shift their focus onto us. For example, using props immediately set us apart from the other crews since we were the only team to do so. On top of that, we are some of the youngest in the competition with our age range being 19 to 27.

Apart from that, I believe what made our performance more powerful was our sincerity. We did not just want a piece that looked good but prioritised sending a since message to the audience through the choreography and our bodies.

With all that in mind, we wanted to set the scene for the audience to feel as though they were watching a dance film that was actually happening live, so they get to experience goosebumps and emotions in real time.

Courtesy of Danial Hyekal (@danialhyekal_)

DFL: Winning Body Rock 2023 is a remarkable achievement! What message do you hope to send to aspiring dancers in Malaysia and beyond, and how do you plan to move forward with inspiring the next generation of dancers?

Faris: It is actually just the beginning for Zeppo Youngsterz to step up to the game. We hope that we can keep the ball rolling and keep inspiring other dancers worldwide.

To the aspiring dancers and choreographers out there, keep believing in yourself and in the craft that you have created because with every creation lies the identity of the individual and it’s going to be different from everyone else.

At the end of the day, people will appreciate it and it might even have the power to save others. Winning and losing are just part of the process, I believe, so try not to follow others and showcase your own flavours instead.

As for right now, Zeppo wants to continue creating and exploring different types of dance pieces as we continue to grow and learn.

Courtesy of Body Rock (@officialbodyrocksd)

There’s no question that Zeppo’s victory at Body Rock not only solidifies their position as dance champions but also brings immense pride to the entire Malaysian and Southeast Asian dance communities.

Their success serves as an inspiration to countless of us who dream of taking on international stages. Ultimately, their dedication and passion make them deserving winners and keep the spirit of dance alive and vibrant in the hearts of dancers worldwide.

Courtesy of Body Rock (@officialbodyrocksd)

We are definitely eagerly awaiting Zeppo Youngsterz’s future endeavours, with more groundbreaking performances that continue to push the boundaries of dance and showcase the magic that lies within the talented crew.

In the meantime, celebrate all the other talent and artistry displayed at Body Rock 2023 here!

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