Cabaret ballroom stars and World of Dance contestants Luka and Jenayn are about to make their red-carpet debut at the iHeartRadio MMVAs (Much Music Video Awards), the Canadian awards show honoring the year’s best music videos, in Toronto this Sunday.
Music is a huge part of a dancer’s life—and music videos are one of the most popular mediums to showcase dancers’ skills. (Check out their fellow World of Dance contestants Keone and Mari in Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” video.) So for Luka and Jenalyn, it’s a chance to celebrate the art alongside their fellow Canadians.
But before they strut down the red carpet this Sunday, we caught up with the duo to chat about the role that music plays in their lives, from what’s on their playlists to how they find the perfect piece to choreograph to. Here’s what they said.
WOD: How do you choose the songs you choreograph to?
Luka: It comes from what we’re listening to, what’s inspiring us, what pieces of music we’re connecting to at the time. For example, when we were heard the song “Radioactive” [by Imagine Dragons], we knew we could do something unreal.
Jenalyn: We listen to see what music we like, but a lot of time it depends on what the music gives us.
Luka: There’s no formula. With “Human” [by Christina Perri], it was different. It connected with us on a deeper level. It wasn’t that we could make a ridiculous routine to it. It was more that there was something in the song we wanted to bring out.
WOD: Do you ever disagree about the songs?
Jenalyn: We have different have views on different songs. We’ll put certain songs on, and we just dance and freestyle to it. When we both feel something, that’s how we know.
Luka: We’re two different people, so there are definitely disagreements. But we kind of ride each idea out.
WOD: Is there a particular type of music that you look for (e.g., high energy or a type of musicality)?
Luka: You definitely want highs and lows so you can keep a piece interesting for a period of time. Every song will give you an ability to create something different, but it’s not about looking for what you want; it’s looking for what the song gives you.
Jenalyn: We can’t force a trick into a song or routine. There are so many things we can do, but the worst thing you could do is force what you want into a piece. You need to listen to what works.
WOD: What’s your fave song that you’ve choreographed to?
Jenalyn: My favorite that we’ve danced together was “Slip” by Elliot Moss. Phillip Chbeeb did an amazing piece to it, and I saw it and showed Luka. It was such a great routine to dance to. Some of the tricks flowed really nicely with the routine. It was so fluid that we finished choreographing really quickly.
Luka: “Radioactive” was a song that we instantly felt could be a showstopping routine. Imagine Dragons will be at the MMAs. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to say hi to them. I don’t know if they’ve seen what we’ve done with it, but that’s definitely a piece that we knew would bring the house down.
WOD: Is there a particular musical artist you love?
Jenalyn: I like Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran. They have more of a groovy style of music.
Luka: We love The Weeknd, and I’m a straight hip-hop fan. I like artists like Eminem—completely different from what we dance to.
WOD: What are you looking forward to most at the MMVAs?
Jenalyn: It’s our first time. I’m excited to go on the red carpet and see people and support our fellow Canadians. I’m excited to meet Alessia Cara. She’s from Brampton like me. She used to go to my high school, and they talk about her all the time. So that will be very cool.
Luka: I’m looking forward to being in that environment and expanding our horizons.
WOD: Anything else before we go?
Jenalyn: We‘ve gotten so many great opportunities throughout this year—even in the last two weeks with World of Dance. We’re very grateful and blessed to have these opportunities and experience this.
Luka: If there’s anyone who wants to collaborate with us and give us a song to work with—I mean anyone—that would be very cool. Get in touch with us, and we’ll totally listen.
To get in touch with Luka and Jenalyn, follow them on Facebook, Instagram @Luka.jenalyn, and Twitter @LukaJenalyn. You can also keep an eye out for a very special upcoming performance of “Don’t Let me Down” by The Chainsmokers. Tune in to NBC’s World of Dance to catch Luka and Jenalyn on NBC Tuesdays at 10/9 central.