Butler, Brogna lead L’il Phunk Boyz team to USA hip hop title
Nashaun Butler and Jevonn Brogna are best friends who let their incredible dance moves do their talking.
Butler, 9, a student at Aborn School in Lynn, and Brogan, 12, a student at Beebe School in Malden, recently returned from the International Hip Hop Dance Championships in Las Vegas where they helped the L’il Phunk Boyz team win the United States junior division national title and finish fourth in the world.
The L’il Phunk team trains at the Phunk Phenomenon Dance Complex in Everett and consists of seven boys, ages 9 through 12. L’il Phunk bested several teams from across the country to win the national title. Japan, Canada, and Ireland finished ahead of the U.S. champs in the world competition before 2,000 fans at the Orleans Hotel Arena. Last year L’il Phunk took home the world championship.
“It was exciting,” said Butler, who is the group’s front dancer. “We had a lot of fun. I’m proud of our team. The host [Mookie] was amazing. But what I liked most about Las Vegas was the pool in our hotel. It was also fun meeting kids from other countries like Japan.”
The boys have mutual respect for each other’s dance abilities. “Nashaun’s a great dancer,” says Jevonn, who has impressively won four U.S.A. and world medals in the past three years.
Dressed in red, white, and blue jerseys, skinny jeans and white Nike Blazers [sneakers], the L’il Phunk Boyz had their fans in Vegas on their feet with a spectacular 90-second routine that featured full-speed flips, twists, and signature hip hop moves.
“I felt we hit our routine very well,” said Nashaun, who has been dancing since he was three years old and is nicknamed “Nay.”
“We practiced our routine for two months,” added Brogna, who also plays basketball.
Butler and Brogna are getting used to being in the spotlight. Butler has danced on the Maury Povich Show and performed on a Fox 5 news show in New York City where he and Jevonn met National Football League stars Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. They also performed regularly with the Junior Celtics Dancers at Boston Celtics games during the past season.
Nashaun is the son of Amber Auger and Parrish Butler and the grandson of Sherie Auger. Jevonn is the son of Linda Brogan and Armetrus Mann.
“I want to thank my family for supporting me, especially Noni [Sherie Auger]” said Nashaun, who aspires to be a professional dancer.
“These young men are totally awesome,” said Noni. “I was so excited when they won. I want to thank Lynn businesses, Ernie’s Harvest Time, John’s Roast Beef, Brothers Deli, Prince Pizza, Juliana’s Hair Salon, Lynn Shore Rest Home, and Atlantic Street Rest Home, and everybody that supported our children through fundraising."
Brogna also thanked his family for its support. “I want to thank my mom, my two uncles, Paul and Dino, and my grandparents for raising the money for me to go to Las Vegas and win the gold medal,” said Jevonn.