Year after year, crowds of excited spectators and talented performers migrate to sunny San Diego to entertain and be entertained. What began as a small show on a small gym floor with a 300 person capacity, has grown to be one of the largest dance competitions in Calfornia–now seating over 1500 people. Dancers from Northern California, Los Angeles and San Diego unite under one roof to entertain the masses. Bustagroove is hosted by Jalan Productions in collaboration with the very talented Culture Shock San Diego. “College teams, high school teams, and youth teams join the street crews/breakdancers from the coast of California to celebrate their adopted culture-Hip Hop”-Anna Sarao. This years dance competition includes only the best and most talented dance crews in California. Major props should be given to Jalan Productions and CSSD for promotiong positivity amongst the dance community, while educating and providing a positive outlet for the youth. Check out what’s to be expected of this years Bustagroove, as well as future plans for Jalan productions…
OC: How did Jalan start?
Anna: Well, we just got our business name and bank account set up last year??? But we’ve been throwing shows together (10 shows to date) for 5 years now. It started in 2000 when I became artistic director of Culture Shock SD. I wanted to throw a competition inviting dance teams from all over, outside the world of culture shock, as a fundraiser. Jose (from Kaba) , a member of CS 2000, gave me the comp’n idea actually. I knew it would take alot of talent and organization so I asked the girls(Liza, Arthetta, and Jen) -who also happened to be culture shock training academy’s desk staff…and my homie Nat -cause she was helping throw clubs/parties with her dj boyfriend. What happened was Bustagroove(got the name from the video game) and it was hella tight! We decided to keep throwing shows after that. It was that dope.
OC: Who is Jalan and what does Jalan do?
Anna: Jalan is/stands for our names. It’s basically a company run by 5 chicks: Jen, Arthetta, Nat, Liza, and Anna. We produce and direct shows/events. We started just creating/working on shows for Culture Shock SD. Jen is in advertising with companies like GAP/American Eagle. She does the registration/checkin and organizes things for us on paper. She has a keen business perspective on working with others whether they be dance teams/possible sponsors…not to mention girl is fierce!Arthetta is detailed – she keeps track of everything(budget/meetings). She also assists with stage managing and is the person to go to when you need security or an enforcer. She works as an evidence collector for the county sheriff so she don’t play. She seen dead bodies all day, she don’t care for excuses much. Nat is both graphics and sound. She’s very creative and does our print work(flyers/programs). And she’s been in the dj/club scene so she learned how to press play during the shows. haha No seriously, she contributes that crossover on print that we need with younger market. Liza is our stage manager/preschool teacher by day. She has hella skillz. On the organized tip, what she does in a classroom – she brings to an event. She is key in laying out blueprint for our production schedule (7 shows this coming year) and education is always a priority with her.
Honestly we value her for her talent for bullshit, she’s the best! And me? I just know all the dance teams after dancing for so long, and I have the vision for the shows, and coordinate talent for them. My main value is what i brought to Culture Shock, …I love what I do and the people I do this with.
OC: How many years has Jalan existed?
Anna: 5 years.
OC: When did Jalan begin throwing Bustagroove?
Anna: Year 2000.
OC: How long does it take to plan Bustagroove?
Anna: We’d say about 3 months. (We reserve the venue 6 months to a year prior)
OC: What’s the process taken in order to make Bustagroove a successful event?
Anna: Brief overview of steps to make Bustagroove successful:
-Pray about the event. (thats a must for me)
-Meet every week 3 months prior(discuss teams/promotions/staff/budget, etc…)
-Contacts, I attend competitions up and down Cali and scout for new/dope crews.
-Flyer distribution/sponsor forms go out through Jalan/Culture Shock dancers.
-Price trophies/dancer giveaways/judges supplies/food.
-Communication, we make sure all our staff (team ambassadors/assistants/runners) know what’s up and that their job is important!
-More meetings: preshow meeting with chyna/1520 sedgewick(bboys need sound/floor setup outside), MC meeting(we brief Mc day of usually), and dvd/video meeting with Ae creative and finally.
-One last meeting with theatre/venue: show content, tech specifics, cost/budget of show, tickets.
OC: What other events is Jalan involved with?
Anna: What other events do we do? Besides the dance competitions/showcases, we are doing a music concert for an upcoming artist, a bgirl competition, and a new project : hip hop play w/music and dance…
OC: How did Jalan start working with Cssd?
“I still believe bboying carries the roots of Hip Hop and its important for them to represent and for our audience to see them.”
Anna: Angie was in Europe teaching when the first Bustagroove happened. When she came back, we donated all of the proceeds to her. It was a great opportunity and a successful fundraiser. So, she wanted to do another show – Choreographer’s Showcase for Culture Shock SD. Of course, she asked us and we did it. That was even more successful so we kept volunteering for Culture Shock.
OC: How do you think the first Bustagroove differs from the Bustagroove now?
Anna: The first year we made all the important decisions ourselves. The second year we adjusted and It was a good learning experience for us and helped define what we all individually do. Honestly, I still hold the first one as my favorite, it was so ghetto. But there was that energy there that was so huge! It wasn’t about the competition…I think all the teams were just happy to be around each other, and that every team on the lineup was good. And with the audience being smaller and in your face, it has that raw bboy circle vibe, ya know? At first, we had a shaky stage and makeshift stage wings…the teams had to support each other literally! I remember Kaba helping us hold the stage while another team was dancing on it…and another dancer holding the wings or curtains steady, and yes! another dancer yelling for me to turn the lights off for Team Millenias light cue. Damn! Now, the audiences are huge and seated in a nice theatre – they still ghetto though. And even though the dancers are all respectful and love what they do, there is mad competition that day! Also, a good thing about the Bustagroove now is the bboy preshow. We are still learning about bboys and Hip Hop culture and try to include that aspect in our shows. Though the competition itself (dance crews onstage) to me, is like the dancer bboy circle, I still believe bboying carries the roots of Hip Hop and its important for them to represent and for our audience to see them.
“Next year, we will be having a two day event…”
OC: Who should we expect to see at this year’s Bustagroove?
Anna: Exhibiting: Future Shock SD, Culture Shock SD, Urban Fx, and Medea Sirkas!!!!
Competing: Sick Step, Sicksyde, Formality, Kaba, UCLA Samahang Modern, Team Millenia, 220, NYR, CADC. Preshow: Rock So Fresh, Rhythm Bugz, Full Force, Funke Matterz, Jabbawockies…and more!
OC: What’s the location and when is Bustagroove 2004?
Anna: Bustagroove is June 6th @ Escondido Center for the Arts, CA check out the flyer on our website www.jalanproductions.com.
OC: What should be expected from Jalan and Bustagroove in the near future?
Anna: Next year, we will be having a two day event, possibly outdoor for the first day. The first day is to be focused on the four elements: we wanted to have Hip Hop workshops or lectures from Krs-1/Ken Swift etc, bboy battles/dj battles/mc battles/graff exhibition …even solo battles like Super Dave vs. Gary Kendall or Kevin from Mindtricks! Next day would be the dance crews competing/exhibitioning…only we’re hoping to get crews nationally. We’d like the East Coast to represent and get more diversity out to SD!
OC: Who are some of your main supporters for this year’s event?
Anna: Well, besides Culture Shock…1520 Sedgewick/Qween B, One Cypher, Ae Creative, Custom Printing, all the dance team homies!!!
OC: How much are the tix and where can people go about purchasing them?
Anna: The tix are $18 presale/$20 at the door. You can get them through Culture Shock Sd members or the Culture Shock Dance Center…I’m also carrying a stash to sell at the One Cypher Party….other than that – the theatre box office # is 800.988.4253
OC; If you could have one group perform at Bustagroove, who hasn’t already…who would you choose?
Anna: That’s hard…I guess right now, either the Electric Boogaloos or Animated Beat Mechanix. There hasn’t ever been a popping crew at Bustagroove, I seen them once at Mighty 4. They’re tight! or even a group of lockers, that would be cool too…
OC: What has been your favorite performance at Bustagroove?
Anna: That’s easy…The first time Chain Reaction came down. They did the Bustagroove game as a skit and brought that element to SD. They were hella funny and creative/dancing was ok but I loved the routine. They had that, “I just wanna dance and have a good show” vibe. No competition, just for the love of it.
OC: What’s to be expected of Jalan’s future events? Any changes?
Anna: Yes, we won’t be doing just SD gigs/Culture Shock gigs. We’ll be in LA and the Bay Area within the following year working with other dance companies. What won’t change is the tight/well organized shows you’re used to. We will always treat everyone well from dancers to staff to audience…that won’t change. We do plan to reach a bigger audience, so just look for us to do collabs with other event companies.
OC: Any last words?
Anna: Yeah, I just want to thank you for doing this. It means alot to be recognized and I appreciate the community that One Cypher is a part of and promotes…and to all the peeps that have supported the shows all these years. Thanks for coming out! To Angie and Culture Shock, thank you forever…and thanks to God, through whom all things are possible. I hope we can still do this when we’re 80!!!
Interview by Shelley Oto
Photo Credit to Aldryn Estacio for the b-boy photos: www.aecreative.com