The Massive Monkees (MM) are a b-boy group based out of Seattle who have used breakdance as a platform to have a positive impact on kids in the Pacific Northwest. When they aren’t out winning World Championships and performing in-front of thousands of fans at basketball games, they run a non-profit called Extraordinary Futures where they host kids for mentoring and dance clinics.
We sat down with Massive Monkees co-founder Brysen “JustBe” Angeles and Extraordinary Futures Executive Director Florentino “Flow” Francisco to learn more about their efforts.
What inspired you to start performing?
Brysen Angeles: We started performing because we loved to dance and hang out together. In the Bboy/Bgirl world, battles are what we train for and routines were a huge part of what MM became known for. We elevated routines to a new level and pioneered ideas and a format that would eventually become a standard for winning battles. The rawness of our battle routines and individual styles blended with the story telling and conceptual ideas of theater made for a great combination that eventually had us touring the US and abroad performing for festivals, concerts, colleges and theaters.
What made you want to get involved at sporting events?
BA: After winning the BBoy world championships in England in 2004 we were invited by the Seattle SuperSonics to perform halftime at the Key Arena. The fans and organization received us well and we were brought on as regulars for in-game entertainment performing as the Sonics Boom Squad. In the 2005-06 season we were recognized as one of the best acts in the NBA and invited to perform halftime at the NBA All-Star Game in Denver. Following the exit of the Sonics from Seattle, we soon began working with our friends at 3PT booking shows around the nation for the NBA, NCAA among other sports organizations.
What did it feel like to be crowned World Champions in Korea?
BA: R16 Korea was our second world title that was won close to 10 years after our first. The first in London was awesome and unexpected, the second in Korea was a testament to longevity, continued hard work, passion, love for what we do, love for each other, and undying support from our community. It felt amazing both times.
What other applications does dance have?
BA: Dance is a great tool for youth outreach, positive influence and creating positive change within our community. We have a dance studio called The Beacon in the international district of Seattle where we teach, host events, run youth programs and operate our non-profit organization Extraordinary Futures.
Explain the vision behind Extraordinary Futures.
Florentino Francisco: Founded by members of the Massive Monkees Crew, the vision behind Extraordinary Futures was to use hip-hop, art & dance as a gateway to the next generation. Also, create an opportunity to use fun, unique, and engaging arts based programs to empower urban youth to lead healthier lifestyles and to realize their full potential as leaders.
In what ways have you seen Extraordinary Futures positively impact its students?
FF: Extraordinary Futures has positively impacted students in many ways. Some examples of those are building their self-confidence level, physical ability, better grades in school, social and emotional awareness, as well as taking pride in being part of their community.
To learn more about the Extraordinary Futures program, visit www.extraordinaryfutures.org and follow them on Twitter @ExtrdnryFutures