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'Dance 360' brings teen music shows full circle

August 30, 2004|Greg Braxton

Starting this afternoon, for the first time in years, the kids will be dancing again on daily television. But the participants on the hip-hop-flavored "Dance 360" are doing more than dancing to a different beat. They are dancing to beat each other.

The syndicated series, airing here at 5:30 p.m. weekdays on KCAL-TV Channel 9, features amateur dancers going head to head in a small circle, battling in elimination rounds while the pumped-up young crowd surrounding them cheers. Call it a remix of the urban dance-battle film "You Got Served" and the dance line on "Soul Train," with a sprinkling of "Gladiator" thrown in.

"We wanted to come up with a show that showed what's current and happening on the streets," said actor-turned-producer Claude Brooks, who developed the show with a young audience in mind. Giving "Dance 360" added street cred are its hosts, rapper-actor Fredro Starr and actor Kel Mitchell.

While previous dance-related shows such as "American Bandstand" and "Soul Train" have focused on the latest hits and guest performers, "Dance 360" is all about the dance. All the music spun by DJ K-Sly is original. "But it will feel like the current music," Brooks said. "As long as the music feels real, the focus can be on the dancing."

Many of the battles pit male against female, and the show's contenders are a diverse group. One competitor was an older white man who called himself "White Chocolate." "He looks like an accountant, but he knows all the current dance moves," Brooks said. "He really won over the crowd."

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-- Greg Braxton

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