I had the pleasure to get on the phone with Tallie, a member from Strikers All-Stars from the MTV show America's Best Dance Crew. Strikers All-Stars was the sixth crew to get eliminated from the show. In this exclusive interview, Tallie talked about his experience being on America's Best Dance Crew and what happened with Mike during his last performance. He also chatted about his tough decision to stay with his crew after hearing that his marching band was going to perform at President Obama's inauguration.
Hi, this Daniel from BuddyTV and I’m here with Tallie, a member from the Strikers All-Stars on the hit show Americas Best Dance Crew. Hey Tallie, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. How’s it going?
I’m doing really good myself.
First of all, I wanted to congratulate to you and your team for making it this far into the show. I know you guys would love to stay a bit longer, but unfortunately things didn’t work out that way for your crew.
Definitely. We thank everyone for your well wishes.
When did you guys decide to get on America’s Best Dance Crew?
One thing, we always realized was that America's Beat Dance Crew was one of the largest platforms that you could be involved or be put on in dance right now, especially in America. It’s like the number one thing. We always strive to go for the best, and go for the top. We knew ABDC after the first two seasons was becoming a giant and we knew we were going to go for it eventually.
How did your feel crew after being eliminated?
Well everyone had their premature feeling of us leaving. We never imagined that we would be leaving so early. But at the same time it made us grateful and thankful for everything that we had experienced so far. And it actually made us a little closer because going back to the controversy as to how we were put off, knowing that it we had a member who messed up with the choreography and things like that. It became much bigger than getting on him for messing up. It became more of a time for support and being there for each other. Because damage had been done, once he messed up and the judges called him out for it. The damage had been done, there was nothing we could have said to make him feel any worse, but there was a lot we could have said to make him feel much worse about the situation. But then at that point we knew it was more about his mental health, and it was more than just as us as dancers, but more as brothers.
How did you guys feel about your performance dance to “Daddy Yankees” Pose video?
That was always questionable in our mind. We had issues dealing with the music. But one thing we always said was that America's Best Dance Crew crew should be able to adapt to any song that was thrown at them, so we never wanted to complain about the music. We never wanted to make that our downfall. And we actually did a pretty good job, as told by the choreographers who came in to see what we had put together and they were like “you guys did a great job at pulling this thing off.” That’s one thing that we pride ourselves in, our work ethic and how we deal with things. The song was not our favorite, but like I said, we felt like “hey, if we really wanted to be ABDC. We’re going have to do some things to music that people wouldn’t normally pick as their 1st choice.” If we can make them love us on these songs, then we know that they really love us.”
How did you guys feel after your name was called as one of the bottom crews?
We knew it was coming because our last weeks’ performance as stated by the judges that it wasn’t as strong. And we knew the competition was getting much fiercer and putting ourselves in a boat between Quest, Beat Freaks, and Fly Khicks, we knew out of those four, and then we were a candidate in the bottom two. It was simple math - the odds were against us. We came into the night prepared to possibly be in the bottom and wanted to make sure we did it because we didn’t want to focus on, “Oh we have to battle now”. We came into the mindset that we just have to perform and we have to compete. That’s all it is. Dancing is so much mental on top of physical, and once you’re out of your mental game, it can really destroy a person. Let’s just have fun and perform.
Tell me about your inauguration decision. You were chosen with your step brothers to go perform. But you made the decision to stick with your team and perform on America’s Best Dance Crew. Can you tell me a little more about that and how did you come up with that decision?
Well it was a very tough decision I had to make. I had to choose between going to Washington D.C. and performing with the Marching 100, which I’m a member of at Florida A&M University and staying on ABDC. Now, it wasn’t more so a performance, it was the history behind the event. Barack Obama is the first black president and I had done so much during the Barack Obama campaign to help out with those things with the fraternities “Omega Psi Phi”. We did a lot of election drives, and a lot of things. Me knowing I had put my heart into getting into Obama getting into office and not having a chance to celebrate with him and be a part of history was already heavy on my heart.
Then we got the great, great news that we would be in Hollywood for America’s Best Dance Crew. It had actually been festering for a while. That one day it was going to come and I would have to make that decision. At the end of things, Shane really hit things on the head, he felt I made the right decision to stay with my crew and that was one of the big nights we had performance wise. And it made me feel all the better to be able to be with my brothers on stage and we were able to watch the inauguration together even though I wasn’t physically there in DC. Me knowing I feel like the type of president, the type of person Barack Obama is, he would rather me be on MTV and getting my time on the stage and making history for myself while letting him do his thing. I feel like at that point I had done my part by voting making sure others were voting and others knew the importance of getting him in office. At the end of the day I felt 100% about it. It was a great experience to watch the inauguration with every one else on ABDC and still be on stage with the strikers.
Tell me a little about your experience on being on America's Best Dance Crew from the live auditions all the way to this last episode?
Starting at the live auditions, it was nerve racking. They named me the leader of the crew. With the Strikers back at home in Tallahassee, I’d been in leadership capacities with the strikers since 2003. And only recently I was inactive, still performing with the group here and there, but I wasn’t fully active with the dance organization as I had moved on and started doing other things. But when they found out that ABDC was what they wanted to pursue, I was contacted by the artistic director and founder and he told me he wanted to be a part of it but he was going to entrust in me to lead the group. So it started there. We developed the regiment that we would follow that would get us into tip top shape and we really had to start thinking of more television and more Hollywood. One thing we do when we have our contests and performance if we have time to work on things. But Hollywood is so fast paced to learn things on the fly, have to constantly be able to adjust. So those were stresses that were just piling on top of us.
One thing we started learning is that being with my brothers, we were able to lighten the load of each other and everyone a pulling their own weight. When it came down to choosing the right music or choosing the right parts of songs, putting together choreography that we may have already known or making up something on the spot, concept with the Britney Spears frame, mirror, things like that, everyone was throwing out ideas and everything was staring to gel. Just the professionalism was starting to make us feel better to, knowing we can be on time, wake up 7:45 in the morning and stay up till 3 in the morning rehearsing and get up the next day and wanting to do it again. Just those things started making us feel more and better about the whole America’s Best Dance Crew. And then when you finally step out on the street and somebody recognizes you and says “you’re the guys from America’s Best Dance Crew, that just pouring out so much love into our heart and whatever and we’re doing the right thing.” Every sacrifice and stress it was worth it because now people can look up to us. A lot of people have been inspired by what we’ve done. Not only do we entertain but we inspire people.
What are you predictions on the show?
The masses have been leaning towards the Beat Freaks. They’ve been doing a great job on the show and the judges have been showing them a lot of favor. They’ve been doing their thing. So I think in all reality the Beat Freaks may take it home. Me being the underdog type person I’m rooting for the Fly Khicks, they represent the South. We got to put the South banner in there. We are trying to get the South to hold it down. And for Quest, we developed a real good relationship with them. We really seen their talents and the things they do and they do some amazing stuff. They even taught us some things for our last challenge, the B-boy challenge.
Even though Mike messed up in his little thing in the middle he had some stuff lined up that was going to blow some minds. But I guess not a lot of people knew the pressure that was put on him. It was a lot of pressure on him to pull off those moves, and that’s what made him blank out. The guys from Quest showed us some really tough stuff, and we earned a lot of their respect because we were actually pulling off some of the stuff they taught us. I think that would put us over the top if we would have had a perfect performance. But that’s not how the cookie crumbles. I think Beat Freaks may pull it off. Our heart goes out to Quest and hope they can stay with it and do their thing. We also want the South to get in there. I think Beat Freaks will win, I’m an underdog and I want the Fly Khicks to pull it off. And then I would put Quest second.
What would you take away from this show?
Just being an inspiration. That’s the main thing that I’m finding out. I’ve gotten so messages from people saying that my little brother or younger sister, love you, love the Strikers, people individually calling me out and saying my little brother wants to be like you. He wants to do this, he wants to do that, he’s interested in everything you’re interested in and we want to start our own dance crew. What is it that we need to do and being an inspiration to people to develop their own dreams is the biggest part on top of that. Now we have the potential to go so much further, like we looking into touring and being able to perform. Make the money that we want to make, doing what we want to do and what we enjoy most in life is performing. So possibly having that opportunity to do that’s great and hit that in all markets, Corporate, endorsement there and there, we’re thinking big, Michael Jordan, Nike and Gatorade. You definitely want to shoot for the biggest and best thing because you never know where it’s going to take you. That’s just what we’re trying to take from it. We’re not trying to be in and out type crew. We want Strikers to become a household name and for good reason.
What is in the future for the Strikers?
Well definitely the Strikers All-Stars we want to participate in America’s Best Dance Crew Tour. We definitely want to be a part of that because so many people across the country and even people in other countries are asking, “When are you going to be here, when are you guys going to be there.” We owe the fans that. We want to go to their city, and let them be in their comfort zone, and come see us perform. We owe them that because they supported us all the way through to this point. And even if we don’t make the tour, we will do our own tour, a college tour, and do a ‘Stay in School” movement, because one thing we wouldn’t have had this opportunity had we not gone to college. Our organization is a college based organization.
For myself individually, I want to market myself to the world as being a leader. I want to spark interest in students who want to be leaders in different things. I’m a leader in so many different organizations like it just blows people’s minds when I start telling them all the different things I do. I’m kind of like a renaissance man. I do a lot of different things music wise, dancing, mechanically everything I do a lot of things. I want to do that and definitely want to test Hollywood out. I want to see where it can take me performance wise, acting wise and politically. I just want to key in and not be able to do everything but those are just the reams I have for myself.
I think for a long time I’ve kept myself in a box because my sister, she’s an actress and she’s doing a lot of things and I see her shortfalls sometimes because in Hollywood and show business it not a warm business at times. I think that’s what kind of shied me away from it want to pursue show business but knowing now that I have the strength to do what I’ve done to this point it’s kind of propelling me into the future to see what I can do. I’m just overwhelmed by the reception I’m getting from people and how people really perceive me now. Things people want me to do for them. So now I’m just I got to start listening to people. Everybody have been telling me for a long time that, ‘You need to do this, you need to go here, you can be this, you can be that”, and I just wanted to play it safe. My major is Music Education. I’ve always wanted to teach music and I still want to teach music. More importantly, I just want to teach. I like to work with children and I like to work with people who want to learn because that’s just a part of me. Which ever way I end up going with it, I know I’m going to end up teaching somehow end up doing some kind of dance workshops, working with the community, I’m all about bringing up the community and lifting as I climb.
If you had to change anything or do anything different on the show, what would you do?
I think for last week I would probably have rehearsed a lot more to hopefully not cause the brain malfunction in Mike. I think if we have had done a perfect performance that we had a stronger chance of continuing. Other than that, we were big on planning and following through so we never really did things on a whim. The procedures that we went through in our rehearsals, how we mapped out what we would do each week, those things were mapped out and I think it was going the right way. Until a certain extent things do change because they come up with the challenges as we go. But generally I think the group did a great job. One thing I always wanted to do was me being a leader I was going to get a lot of time to talk and a lot of time in the forefront so if you notice in a lot of our interviews that we did for the blog groups I would put myself in the back because I wanted the other guys to get time to showcase themselves and show what they can do. And even in the choreography I started off week one in the dead center and ended up being the center piece of the final explosion. I really wanted to give them more forefront and give everybody their time to shine. I think we did a good job at that. But in terms of things to change, but I love that feeling not knowing that I wish we could have did this, I wish we could have did that , that’s the worst feeling to have because you’ll never have that opportunity again.
Well Tallie thank you so much. Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans out there?
Just that we love them so much for having our backs. Continue to watch the show, the show is a great show, look for us in the future. Everyone’s doing well, Mike’s doing fine mentally. I’m still getting over the accident with my tooth thing. That’s why I sound a little down. My immune system is really low because of the accident but I’m taking my vitamins. Taking my medicine, I’m getting better and we’ll be back next week.
Thank you so much. All of us at BuddyTV and especially me wish you the best of luck in everything that you do.
-Daniel Ha, BuddyTV Contributing Writer
(Image Courtsey of MTV)