TGIF has a different meaning for a select group of 33 dancers, including two from Langley.
For TwoFourSeven Company, Friday nights are about training, dancing, and bonding with each other in the studio.
Established in 2009 by Jerome Esplana, TwoFourSeven Company is an expansion of an original group of seven young men who believed in fulfilling their passions 24/7.
Now directed by Roberta Bierman and Carlo Atienza, with the assistance of captains Elwin Alpuerto, Christopher Bonus, and Victor Lau, the group has grown to 30 members who equally support each other and the Greater Vancouver dance community.
Members of TwoFourSeven span the Greater Vancouver area, with some commuting an hour to practice from Langley, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Surrey.
“It can be quite the distance, but it’s worth it,” says Langley resident Roraigh Falkner, 21, who has been on the team for two years. “I was welcomed with open arms and immediately knew this is where I was meant to be.”
As a mother of two, Jennielyn Delos Santos, 28, from Walnut Grove hoped to reignite her passion for dance by joining TwoFourSeven.
With encouragement from her husband, she took a leap of faith to do something for her growth as a dancer.
“Everyone on this team is extremely talented and inspire me to be the best version of myself knowing all the sacrifices they do to make ends meet,” Delos Santos said. “TwoFourSeven means more than just dancing.”
Now in their eighth season, the dancers from TwoFourSeven Company are preparing for World of Dance Los Angeles in April.
While the local squad are first-timers to this competition, they are not strangers to the world stage.
Their recent participation at the world-renowned hip hop competition, VIBE, in Orange County earned them a third place trophy amongst 13 competing teams.
Known for their chemistry on stage, innovative concepts and visual storytelling, TwoFourSeven was the only international team to be invited to this event as all other participating teams had to qualify for a spot.
The TwoFourSeven dancers have several first places titles under their belt — 2017 Body Rock champions, 2013-2016 Canadian Hip Hop International champions, 2012-2016 Artist Emerge champions — and will look to make Canada proud at international events including World of Dance.
Having been on the team since its early beginnings, director and choreographer Roberta Bierman has continued to support the Vancouver dance community through her studio, A3 District. Teaching hip hop culture and inspiring her students to strive for the best is always a first for her.
Artistic Director Carlo Atienza has choreographed for internationally known artists, most recently the popular South Korean boyband, EXO, in their music video “Electric Kiss.”
This directing duo’s ability to create cutting-edge choreography has led them to be flown out to teach in countries such as Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and the Philippines. Members of TwoFourSeven have also been featured in the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Canada’s Got Talent, and films such as Disney’s The Descendants 2.
While they do come from all walks of life — some balance full-time school, work, and other responsibilities — they share a common love for hip hop dance.
– Selena Chow, Times contributor