Dancer Spotlight: Aaron “Spunj” Hicks

AZ Shoot1**Photo Credit: Campos Photography (Phoenix, AZ)**

There are a number of underrated dancers, crews, and scenes all around the world. Even with YouTube and social medias bringing us together, its hard to find a way to expose those who are underrated. We have done our best to share something from as many different scenes as we can, and I think we have done a pretty good job so far. Other than the LA, NYC, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, and other big city hubs — you can pull dancers from Arizona to Maryland, Washington to Georgia, Nebraska to Massachusetts.

One of those underrated dancers, Aaron “Spunj” Hicks, hails from a very booming, underrated dance scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Spunj’s year has been 2012, the lsit of accomplishments and opportunities show the moves he is making both in the industry and the underground. Having booked and danced on a Samsung commercial, performed with Lemonade mouth, and his crew, Iron Bred Kidz, performing with Pitbull – its safe to say Spunj has a big 2013 coming! On top of booking some great opportunities in 2012, Spunj never forgets where he comes from or where he got his start. He continues to return back to Albuquerque helping support the scene by teaching classes and workshops as well as entering local battles.

As I got to know “Spunj” from this interview, I realized how important it is for dancers no matter what level: professional or amateur, always give back to the place and the people who helped you get your start! Because in the end they are the ones that will always be there!

INTERVIEW

At what age did you start dancing?

I started dancing at the age of 13.

Who were some of your inspirations?

Some of my inspirations in dance at the time were Turbo & Ozone from the movie ‘Breakin’. (we didnt have youtube yet lol)

What was your first exposure to Hip Hop dance? What style did you learn first?

Honestly my first exposure was Wyclef Jean. My brother and I saw a music video of Wyclef doing the worm. We HAD to learn after seeing that! We started off break dancing in our living room.

Albuquerque seems to have an underrated dance scene, tell us about growing up there with dance and how its grown

I believe the ABQ dance scene is very underrated. There are some gems here that yet to shine on the mainstream circuit. Growing up in Albuquerque’s dance scene was very intimidating. I was literally discouraged to give up. I took it as a mental challenge.  There are no easy props given, no matter who you are.

When did you decide to really pursue dance and how did you make that happen?

I started to really pursue dance when promoters, and companies started approaching my dance crew and I to perform at their events. We felt like we could really make a run at doing this for a living.

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You’ve accomplished quite a bit with dance, SYTYCD, Lemonade Mouth, Samsung commercial, tell us about all these experiences?

Oh gosh, whats a good word to describe SYTYCD…INTIMIDATING! Although I was cut around top 50 in the U.S. I am proud to announce I will be making another run in 2013! Lemonade Mouth was an amazing experience! After auditioning and being selected to dance along side Christopher Scott, and Kid David along with other dancers was an awesome, fun experience! 

Tell us about dancing with Pitbull, Quest Crew, and others

Funny story.. My dance crew (Iron Bred Kidz) had the pleasure of performing at the Takeover Tour opening for these artist, and the whole time backstage we kept inviting Quest Crew to warm up with us backstage. (they didn’t.) Once the final artist (Pitbull) came on, Hawk, and Ryan freestyle danced with us on stage with Pitbull, and we had a blast!

You also compete in Fitness competitions, tell us about that

This is true! Again my dance crew were the entertainment act for Muscle Mania Fitness Competition. And the director invited me to compete in the Male Fitness Category. Basically You show off your strength through a fitness routine. Long story short, I entered and won 1st in the southwest region. After winning, they flew me out to Miami to compete in the world finals. Representing the USA I placed 3rd overall! (Africa 1st, Russia 2nd) The dance crew has since then gone on tour with the company as their official entertainment act, and I will be defending my title in 2013!

How important is fitness for dancers?

Being a dancer means you’re an athlete. You have to train on a regular. Mentally, and physically. weather youre on a stage or in the underground battle circuit, stamina is your best friend! What you put onto your body really will take a tole on your body.

Any projects coming up for you?

I am on a workshop tour as we speak. It ends in January where I will return to San Diego, and start on a film project with Red Bug Films. I will be featured on Shane Sparks radio show coming up in January 2013 that I am really excited about. I will be doing some work with Shane’s management also. As Ive said, I will also be making a run for SYTYCD again. Along with a few film work, and commercials will be coming out in 2013, so be on the lookout!

If you had a theme song to dance too, what song would it be and why?

Thats the toughest question so far! Hmm… Would have to go with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song!

Other than dance, do you have any other passions?

I love to DJ! Been messing around with that for a few years now. Editing dance footage is really great also.

Any shout outs…

Shout out to my dance crew Iron Bred Kidz back in New Mexico. I love y’all!

What words of inspiration would you give to dancers and kids coming up?

Respect the artform. Dance for the love and passion. Not the glitz and glam. Everything else will come later. Live life!

-Spunj

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