In this MEGA Man exclusive, discover six Filipino hip-hop dancers making waves in the industry
Step into the rhythmic world of Filipino hip-hop excellence as we shine a spotlight on a new wave of dancers redefining the game. Read on for an insider’s look into their journey, their craft, and the unstoppable force they bring to the forefront of the country’s hip-hop scene.
At 18 years old, Jobert kicked off his dance journey and hasn’t looked back. Founder of Batobalani Artists Collective and Musketeers PH, he’s also a junior choreographer at UPeepz. Some of his noteworthy moments include dancing in Bullet Dumas’ concert, performing in DWTA’s “Santigwar” music video, and choreographing Jarlo Basé’s “Kalapati” and “Sisa” music videos. He also revealed that you can catch him in action on December 16 in the play Ang Mahiwagang Shoebox with some of the country’s top dancers.
“To be able to travel and witness different cultures is priceless enough. What more if you’re doing something you love and still experience that? [It] is just priceless for me.” This was the dancer’s response when asked what it is about dancing that brings him excitement. Meanwhile, his current dream involves collaborating with different artists beyond the dance community, aiming to bring dance into new and varied platforms.“I believe collaboration will go a long way and hopefully shows like that will be played in schools, big theaters, and international artists might join, too, in the future.”
Aennon’s dance journey began in 2009 when being diagnosed with ADHD led him to explore activities matching his energy. Despite trying sports first, it was dance that truly clicked. Today, he is one of the heads the local dance group, TPM, as one of the senior choreographers and also the president, and on top of that, he also directs Bawz.
Reflecting on his achievements, he highlights two that stand out. Firstly, competing with his teammates at TPM locally and internationally since 2018 taught him to appreciate struggles and successes. Secondly, as a coach, seeing his students progress in both dance and life is a fulfilling accomplishment. As for his biggest aspiration at the moment, Aennon said that he really cannot think of any. “There’s a lot, to be honest, but what I can say is that until now, everything is still a dream. I am still an aspiring choreographer. Even with all the experiences and achievements, I humbly say that I still aspire to be better than I was today and yesterday. I still do have a lot to learn and witness.”
In addition to his popular style recommendations, Joshua Decena is making a name for himself with his dance videos. He kicked off his dance journey at 7 years old, after being inspired by his sister, before entering the scene when A-Team invited him to join two to three years ago.
Joshua reminisced about performing alongside local and international artists like Sarah Geronimo and Jessi as significant achievements. He also shared that prior to these experiences, he initially juggled a corporate job while dancing on the side, eventually turning it into a profitable endeavor. And when asked what his advice for aspiring dancers was? “Always keep trying.”
Dune Stephen Mondejar
Inspired by his older brothers, Dune started his dance journey at 8 years old. Now a key figure in Legit Status and Dancehall Manila Community, he’s also the founder and director of Train to Zion. Dune’s proudest moments include winning HHI Worlds and spreading his love for dancehall and hip-hop nationwide, with plans to extend his reach to neighboring Asian dance communities.
“Dancing really helped me a lot growing up, especially in an environment where you could end up in such troubling situations. It was just a hobby for me at first, but dance itself became a safe place for me to express myself and understand more things about my movement, culture, and purpose.” This is how Dune defined the personal meaning of dancing to him. Currently, his foremost goal is to impart a positive influence on the next generation, encouraging them to wholeheartedly pursue their dance passions. He shared that he aims to extend the help he received from dance and mentors to many others through his talent and vision.
Adam initiated his formal dance journey in 2008 and has been going strong ever since. He co-founded TPM, securing back-to-back championships at Vibe Philippines as they represented the country in Vibe USA in 2018 and 2019. Recently, their team clinched 2nd place at Singapore’s Super 24 Competition 2023. Additionally, he serves as one of the choreographers for the P-Pop group, BGYO.
With numerous accomplishments as a dancer, Adam treasures the chance to teach and perform internationally to represent our nation.“I’ve had the chance to compete in the US and Singapore, and have been able to teach in Japan, US, Macau, Singapore, [and] India. It’s a humbling and fulfilling experience to be able to showcase my choreography, and also promote OPM through my pieces.” Using dance as a medium for personal expression and global connection, Adam mentioned that his primary goal is to continue showcasing his talent on the international stage through competitions and teaching.
Starting in 2009, Jesse’s dance journey evolved from observing iconic teams, attending their workshops, to joining school and external dance groups. Currently, he’s a member of Legit Status, Dancehall Manila, and Musketeers PH. His notable achievements include securing a world championship and carrying the title of Dancehall King. “Dancehall is not just a dance style. It’s a beloved culture borrowed from Jamaica. Having that title gives me the purpose and responsibility of sharing the love and knowledge I have for the culture here in the Philippines and globally,” he shared.
In addition, he noted that dancing is highly meaningful in his life as the art form that sculpted his current identity. Apart from finding joy and using it for self-expression, dance served as a key refuge during tough times. With various exciting prospects on the horizon, Jesse openly shared his current core and sincere aspirations. “My first aspiration in dancing is to make everyone aware that our art form is not cheap, that we get the right standard we deserve, and one day, make the dream come true to make a consistent living out of it. Secondly, we all know how high the skill level and talent we have here in the Philippines, not just in the metro, but in the provinces, too. I hope that the government will see that dancers are athletes, too, and will finally have the interest to support and invest in these undeniable talents that will lead to worldwide recognition.”
Featured Image: VER SACOL