Hip-hop dancer combines skill and technique

Courtesy / Charles Decker
Xclusive dance and comedian event

Courtesy photo

Courtesy / Charles Decker Xclusive dance and comedian event

Shelby Pendowski

From the plies of ballet to the sashays of jazz to rhythmic taps, the dancing world incorporates a variety of different techniques and skills. But the style that combines almost all of the dance elements, with sometimes impossible moves, is hip-hop.

Kenneth “Xclusive” Paryo has mastered those moves and has been featured on TV shows, such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Got Talent” with his dance crew, Dragon House.

His passion sparked when he was 13 years old and attended a step show, where one man’s performance inspired him to learn how to dance. But instead of immediately seeking formal training, Xclusive watched videos on the Internet and mimicked each move.

And now, he’s a competition expert.

“While in a competition it is really tactical,” Xclusive said. “You have to balance a lot of things. For example, you have to get the crowd on your side as well as the judges. You have to make sure that, like, all your dance stylization is clean, as well as your crowd-pleasing moves. And you have to make sure you listen to the music because one thing that really helps win a competition is musicality.”

To further his own career, the past couple of years he’s branched out from dancing solely with his crew, stepping away from competition and performing as a profession.

“They are two different things,” Xclusive said. “When I am at a competition, I dance a lot different just because the crowd will understand everything that I am doing, like I am more of, I am more in a performance mode.”

When dancing with a crew each member can feed off each other, Xclusive said, but when performing solo, the crowd fuels his motivation.

So, he combined his sense of humor with his love for dance to create his comedy dance show, which is touring across the U.S., and stopped at Grand Valley State University Feb. 20.

“The story that I tell is that I actually used to do that in regular conversation,” Xclusive said. “I would talk to my friends or whatever and if a song or lyric would finish my sentences I would sing it. Then one day I decided to try it out onstage. It actually was the most nervous I have ever been to perform. It worked out really well, so I kept doing it.”

The most difficult transition into comedy for Xclusive was timing. Going from a 15-minute opener performance to an hour-long comedy show took adjusting, but he uses a lot of personal experiences to keep his act going.

“My friends are pretty crazy as well, I get a lot of inspiration from them,” he said. “A lot of stuff happens to me on a day-to-day basis, especially with me traveling so much, so I just try to write everything down.”

On top of his comedy act, Xclusive has opened shows for musicians, including Gnarls Barkley and Trey Songz.

“My favorite performance was when I opened up for Childish Gambino in LA,” Xclusive said. “I opened up for him at a school called Ramona College…it wasn’t the largest crowd that I have performed before, but it was the best experience because I got to work with somebody that I look up to. The crowd treated me like I was him.”

Xclusive wants to continue dancing and performing his comedy, but in the next few years he is looking forward to possibly expanding his career into the movie business. But even as he continues to gain popularity by branching out with his career and dancing into the spotlight, he said he will never let fame go to his head.
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