Phunk Phenomenon will debut Thursday night
Four Lynn dancers, part of the Phunk Phenomenon dance group of Everett, will be appearing on the Music Television (MTV) show, “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew” that debuts Thursday at 10 p.m.
Christopher DiNicola of Lynn is the leader of the dance group. His younger brothers, Trey Rich and Nikko Rich, also dance, while Devin Woolridge is the other Lynn representative on the team. The founder and owner of the Phunk Phenomenon Dance Studio is Reia Briggs-Connor, a former New England Patriots cheerleader who grew up in Chelsea.
DiNicola, 28, a dancer with Phunk Phenomenon for 11 years, said the journey began when the seven-member dance group attended an open call tryout in New York City on Jan. 29.
The group excelled at the audition and learned that it had earned a spot on the MTV show during a phone call from Randy Jackson, who is well known as a judge on the show, “American Idol.”
DiNicola and the group are currently in Burbank, California rehearsing for the show. The grand prize for the winner of the show is $100,000.
“It’s been a surreal experience,” said DiNicola, a graduate of Lynn English High School. “When Mr. Jackson called us to let us know we had been selected, it was amazing. If there is word that describes our feeling as being more than excited [to be performing on national television] – I don’t know how to explain how I feel right now.”
DiNicola feels his group has a good chance to advance in the competition that features teams from California, Illinois, Texas, California, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand.
“We have more of a crazy, raw energetic style,” sad DiNicola. “I think America will really like our performance.”
Interestingly DiNicola and Woolridge were once dance rivals.
“I first met Devin when he was battling my two younger brothers at an event that was hosted by Phunk,” said DiNicola. “We really didn’t start off as great friends, if you know what I mean.”
DiNicola said one of goals of the group is to raise awareness for Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare disease that is afflicting the son of Reia Briggs Connor and her husband, Rick Connor.
“We’ve been dancing for a higher purpose and we represent a foundation, Hip Hop for Hope when we go out and perform,” said DiNicola. “All the money we raise goes to research and development to find a cure for the disease.”
Woolridge, 25, a graduate of Lynn Tech and former captain of the football team, is excited about the group’s upcoming appearance on MTV.
“It hasn’t officially hit me yet,” said Woolridge, a member of Phunk Phenomenon for three years. “I still get nervous during the rehearsals but I’m looking forward to the moment we hit the stage and know all the people that will be watching on television back in Lynn.”
Woolridge said there will be a lot of high energy and excitement in the routine that they will perform on the show. “There is a lot of strong competition, but we’re all working hard and very confident,” said Woolridge.