Automatic Response is a professional dance company from Phoenix, Arizona. The group was founded in 2005 and has since then performed and offered classes on b-boy/b-girl, hip-hop, jazz, tap and freestyle.
Twenty-three-year-old Joey Arwalo is from Mesa, Arizona. He began dancing at the age of two, and decided that it will be his career at the age of fourteen. He teaches hip-hop and cheerleading as a means to get by with his everyday needs. Aside from dancing, he enjoys sporty activities like basketball and ping pong. While his idols are Michael Jackson and Mr. Wiggles, he says that his sources of inspiration are his very own experiences in life and his brother who already passed away. By joining Dance Crew, he hopes to encourage the youth to listen to their hearts and follow their dreams.
Stephan Evans, also known as Sundance, is a twenty-four-year-old man from Phoenix, Arizona. He started dancing at the age of thirteen. For ten years, he was part of Mellow Drama Crew, a b-boy crew for Arizona and California. He works as a dance instructor for some dance studios in Arizona, and also teaches dance to elementary students. Aside from having the moves, Sundance also practices his musical skills by playing the piano and guitar. His dancing idols are Thesis-Knuckleheads, Miracles-Furious Style Crew, MIG 187-A.O.D. and Lil Rock-Killafornia. Although competition is a good source of encouragement for him, his ultimate inspiration is none other than his daughter.
Twenty-one-year-old Crystal Gibson hails from Phoenix, Arizona. At 18-years-old, shortly after graduating from high school, she began teaching hip-hop at a local studio in her hometown. She is currently enrolled in Arizona State University and is taking up a major in Dance Studies. She dances, performs and choreographs on the side to pay for her daily living. Aside from dancing, she also practices her artistic side through painting. She idolizes Bob Fosse, Jose Limon, Alvin Ailey, Crazy Legs, Sugar Pop and Ken Swift. She finds dancing endearing because this particular art form lets her communicate thoughts and feelings through moving in space and time.
Krista Coney is a 23-year-old dancer from Phoenix, Arizona. She started dancing at the age of seven and taught chorography for hometown dance studios during her senior year in high school. After touring with Aaron Carter and Dance Conventions, she became more serious with her choreography and started to make a living out of it. Among her specialties are jazz, lyrical and hip-hop. She also conducts private lessons, working for thirty hours every week. Aside from Janet Jackson, her ultimate idols are her trainers Ray Leeper and Mark Meiser who have been coaching her for many years. She is thankful for her parents’ support on her chosen career. It is them who told her that it is more important to follow her passion and be happy than to make tons of money and miss out on happiness.
Thirty-year-old Ryan Ingram came all the way from Phoenix, Arizona. Shortly after graduating from high school, he went with a group and traveled to London and Paris for some performance and training. He gets through his everyday needs by juggling his occupations as dance instructor, choreographer, emcee, disc jockey and events manager. His idols include Sugar Pop, Mr. Wiggles, Miracles, Sundance and Phi to name a few. What inspires him to keep on dancing is the support from his family, students, mentors, crew, the hip-hop culture and God. Aside from dancing, Ryan enjoys a number of other activities such as music mixing and editing, tai chi, ping pong and cooking.
Twenty-three year old Bonita Lovett hails from Phoenix, Arizona. When she was seventeen, she auditioned for a professional hip-hop team and got chosen. That was the first time that she experienced being paid for her performance. This 3-in-1 dancer, choreographer and performer works as a teacher at Scottsdale Community College and Paradise Valley Community College. When not in the dance studio, she spends her time organizing events, reading, shopping and just being with her family. Her idols are Sammy Davis Jr., Easy Rock, Crazy Legs, Mr. Wiggles, Sugar Pop, Ken Swift, and Ynot. What inspires her career are the feelings that she gets from it. She feels relaxed whenever she listens to music she loves. The drive to pass on true hip-hop knowledge is also a push for her to go on with her chosen field.
Automatic Response is a finalist for MTV’s 2008 reality talent search Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew; where hip-hop dance groups from all over US compete for the prize money and for the opportunity to be given a touring contract.
(Photo courtesy of MTV)