Luka & Jenalyn Rise to New Heights on 'World of Dance Philippines'
Updated: Aug 2, 2020
Fans of World of Dance remember Luka & Jenalyn for their amazing Ballroom Cabaret work on Seasons 1 and 2. While they didn't return to the U.S. version of the show in 2019, they are still a part of the World of Dance family. The duo has made it to the World Final of World of Dance Philippines.
Dance Dish spoke with Luka & Jenalyn this week as they prepare for their final appearance on the show. The World Final will not only be live on Saturday and Sunday, but it will also include an online audience vote — something that the U.S. version has yet to attempt.
The decision to do the Filipino version of the show was an easy one because Jenalyn has ties to the country. Her mother, Myra, was born in the country and had left at the age of two. It became a way for her family to strengthen ties to their homeland that they left 48 years before.
"I'm half Filipino," explained Jenalyn. "I thought it was a great opportunity for me to open up doors to my family — not only to dance world and for us to showcase everything that we've been working on, but to open up my knowledge about my culture."
They also had more to prove after their run on Season 2 in the U.S. ended earlier than they anticipated.
"Season 2 didn't go exactly as we planned and we felt like we had a lot in the bag that we wanted to show and didn't have the opportunity," said Luka. "As dancers, as artists, as movement creators and as storytellers, we were able to do it in her home country."
Finding themselves in the World Final has been an exciting part of their journey, but it hasn't been easy getting there. They had to fight for their place in every round.
"The talent in the Philippines is unbelievable. Every round they come out with a couple of things that you've never seen before," he said. "Every round was difficult, as it should have been, but it made every victory worth it."
What the duo really wanted to showcase this time around is how much their style and choreographer has matured. They had the tricks down, but their dance elements have been taken to a new level.
"I think our style has matured a lot, not only individually, but also as a duo, because we've been able to expand on our own personal backgrounds in dance, like Luka's ballroom and my contemporary, salsa, Acro and jazz," shared Jenalyn. "We've been able to really tap into those and apply them more in our routines. In Season 1 and a little bit of Season 2, it was just Ballroom Cabaret, that was all we really knew how to showcase to the best of our abilities."
Doing the first two seasons of World of Dance had its pluses and minuses to jumping into the competition in the Philippines. Luka & Jenalyn couldn't rest on the laurels.
"People know about us, but they've already seen what we've been able to bring to the table before. The expectations are higher and if we do those same maneuvers, they are less impressive because they've already seen it," revealed Luka. "The moves we did in Seasons 1 and 2, we are now seeing our signature moves be used by others. So now, we can't do that same signature move. It's up to us now to figure out a way to top that signature move we made a year ago."
Their hard work paid off because it got them all the way to the World Final, but now they are strategically focusing on the last two episodes.
"We want to showcase what we can do at the highest level. We're going to do everything we can," he said. "There will be those 'wow' moments and the jaw-dropping moves that we've never done before, but we want to showcase the dance and our dance abilities, too."
If the duo wins, not only will they receive a monetary prize, they will also have the opportunity to appear on Season 4 of World of Dance in the U.S. That would be a unique twist to both versions of the show. No matter what the outcome, though, Luka & Jenalyn feel like they've gained valuable experiences from coming to the Philippines.
"Everybody here in the Philippines treats you like family. It doesn't feel like work at all during this competition," summed up Jenalyn. "We've been so happy to be here doing what we love."
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