World of Dance live show: More aches, fewer tiffs

What: World of Dance Live
Where: Royal Theatre
When: Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $51.50 at the Royal McPherson box office, by phone at 250-386-6121, or online at rmts.bc.ca

The hit NBC reality show World of Dance saw contestants pitted against each other in weekly battles. Many of those dancers are now gutting it out on stage in the live touring version of World of Dance — only this time, they don’t have to face the scorn of judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough. And instead of fighting each other, they’re battling physical aches and pains.

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Rehearsals for the run started in September, with the tour opening Oct. 1 in Toronto. The World of Dance live tour features performers from both seasons — including groups Royal Flux and Embodiment, duos Charity & Andres and BDash and Konkrete, and soloists Jaxson Willard and Michael Dameski — on tour until Nov. 14, including a stop tonight at the Royal Theatre.

Will Thomas of Los Angeles-based company Royal Flux, which appeared in the show’s first and second seasons, said he’s been battling his body for much of the run, and he’s not the only one.

“Some body parts are going a little bit crazy,” he said recently, while the troupe convened for lunch on its way to Ridgefield, Washington. “My shoulders are going nuts, Ellie [Biddle] has a forearm that is a problem, Malece [Miller] and Savannah [Timeus] have a couple of ankle issues, and it’s the same with Audrey [Case].”

All six company members agree it’s one of the hardest jobs they’ve ever done, he said. “Icebaths and massages are definitely getting us through.”

The 90-minute performance offers a series of sets and showpieces, some of which will be recognizable to fans familiar with the contest, while others are new and match up members of various groups on the tour.

The tone differs greatly from both seasons of the television show, which awarded a $1-million prize to the winner. Michael Dameski and Charity & Andres placed second and third, respectively, in this year’s instalment, and though they competed hard for the prize, they have become close on the tour, according to Case of Royal Flux.

“We all met each other on the show, so now it’s a celebration of this journey we’re on together. When you’re on the show, things are a little more cutthroat. But on tour, we’re all in it together, and have group dances with all of the castmates. We’re bringing unity to the tour side of things.”

Some dance groups, duos and solo artists are asked back following a season of World of Dance broadcasts, though that is rare (Royal Flux appeared in both seasons of the show, one of the only groups to do so).

The unpredictability of being on the tour has created a sense of friendly competition, according to Biddle of Royal Flux, but it’s also the nature of the job. Dancers often find steady work in a variety of media, from movies to music videos, so the current tour might be the final bow on the road for some.

“You do a job and you see what’s next,” Biddle, who is from Seattle, said with a laugh. “The good thing is that Royal Flux rehearsals come often, so we get to practice and dance year-round. Not everyone can be part of a company, [so they miss] out on the sense of family that we have here.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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