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Roseville’s Stepboys to dance, ham it up on MTV

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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When three Woodcreek High School buddies decided to dance at their school’s talent show for fun nearly 10 years ago, they had no idea it would land them on national television. “We ended up winning the talent show,” said Stepboys founding member Greg Saniatan. “That’s where we started it. It was just a joke but we were like, ‘Hey, let’s keep this going.’” Saniatan and his two friends, Ivan Nguyen and C-Jay Mateo, formed the group Stepboys Dance Crew, which has since become a dance crew with close to 20 members. On Wednesday evening, eight members of Stepboys will be featured on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” as the show debuts its seventh season. “We are a hip-hop dance crew … and we’re a bunch of, I guess you could say, weirdoes,” Saniatan said. “We focus on comedy as one of our main characteristics to stand out.” Saniatan said the crew’s routine incorporates flips, tricks, gimmicks and “pretty much anything that will put a smile on the audience’s faces.” Saniatan and Nguyen took eight of the group’s “weirdest” members to Los Angeles to audition for the show on Jan. 28. “We chose the eight ugliest and weirdest people to represent on ‘America’s Best Dance Crew,’” Saniatan said. “We just said, ‘let’s do it, we have nothing to lose.’ We feel that hip-hop has become really about being cool, and it is losing the fun aspect of it.” “America’s Best Dance Crew” held auditions in four different cities across the United States — Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and New York. The Los Angeles auditions were held Jan. 28-29. On the first day of auditions, crews performed a prepared routine and the casting director determined whether or not the crew will get a call-back. Stepboys received a call-back and were given a new piece of music for which they had to create their own choreography and perform the next day. They were also given notes on things they can fix from their prepared routine, which they also performed again. Saniatan said Stepboys were chosen to be one of 10 crews on the show out of hundreds of other dance crews in Los Angeles and the other audition cities. Since the group’s inception in 2003, it has slowly added more members, male and female, based more on their personality than their ability to dance, Saniatan said. “We just kept adding people that we felt would be a benefit to the crew,” he said. “And at the same time, we’re pretty much family members. We’re just a bunch of brothers and sisters.” The Stepboys Dance Crew created Studio Fifty-Eight in Roseville in 2010, a small dance studio off Foothills Boulevard that serves as a forum for hip-hop. The studio routinely hosts special events like battle nights and dance workshops, according to the dance crew’s website. Stepboys has also placed in the top three at World of Dance competition in San Diego for the past two years and were USA finalists at Hip Hop International in Las Vegas last year. “America’s Best Dance Crew” was founded by American Idol judge Randy Jackson and pits some of the nation’s most talented dance crews against each other in a weekly competition. Crews are handed a piece of music to create and perform their own choreography. Their performance is judged with their fate ultimately left in the hands of viewers, who can vote by phone or online after the show airs. “We’re doing this for Roseville,” Saniatan said. “We’re really excited to represent our hometown and we hope to bring back a trophy, or at least some snacks from our hotel.” Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.