When he was announced as winner of the final round in Ccilu Footwear’s “liberate yourself & dance!” contest, 14-year-old Jaryan Bague had no idea the Grand Prize would involve a one-on-one dance lesson with one of his favorite dancers.
As a frequent attendee of World of Dance competition events, Jaryan and his brothers had met Ricky Cole – dancer, choreographer, and host of the WOD events – before. But this was different: as the contest winner, Jaryan and his mom would be flown to LA for a 3-day Grand Prize Trip that would include not just a trip to Universal Studios, but quality time with Ricky – and his Soul Fresh Fam dance crew.
A new video posted to Ccilu’s YouTube channel chronicles the experience. “It was really exciting to reveal to Jaryan on Skype that I was going to be his mentor and a part of his prize trip to LA, especially having had the opportunity to see him in the dance community and put him on stage at a few events prior to this experience,” Ricky recalls. “So it was great to finally get a chance to work with him one on one.”
Jaryan, Ricky and the dancers were outfitted with shoes by Ccilu (pronounced “CHEE-loo,” the brand name is Japanese for “liberate”). As a dancer and founder of the Soul Fresh clothing line, Ricky knows something about the relationship between style and function. “After having the opportunity to dance in a pair of Ccilu shoes, I realize they are extremely comfortable and lightweight, which helped out while doing tricks and having long rehearsals,” says Ricky (who appears on screen in the Horizon Duke, while Jaryan sports the Kaza Batura). “In addition to the Kaza, my favorite Ccilu shoe is the Horizon Duke, because I feel like I can wear these with any outfit, and also they look really nice on formal clothes,” Jaryan explains. “What separates them from dress shoes, though, is that they are really light and your able to dance in them.” Ccilu styles also featured in the video include the Mercury, also from the brand’s Horizon Collection.
“Our sponsorship of the World of Dance Winners Circle always includes a contest or activation that rewards young dancers for expressing themselves,” explained Ccilu Marketing VP Mabel Teo, herself a dance enthusiast, and someone who has spearheaded Ccilu’s collaborations with numerous dancers. “Part of this trip was to allow Jaryan a chance to train with leading hip-hop dancers like Ricky and his Soul Fresh Fam crew. And when Ricky brought in special guest mentor Boogie Frantick, it was next level.”
The session took place at the famed Evolution Studios, North Hollywood, and Jaryan says he was humbled by all of it. “I feel I improved, because I got to learn a routine from Ricky and I learned different popping techniques from Boogie,” he observed. “One tip I can give out is to not try to hit every single beat in a song when dancing, take your time and be patient. It shows your maturity in dance.”
“What stood out most when I met Jaryan was his maturity, drive and work ethic,” affirms Ricky, who himself began dancing professionally at age 19.
When he’s not dancing, Jaryan says, “I like playing basketball and I like doing mock trial. I’m on my school’s basketball team and mock trial team.”
And what does Jaryan envision for himself down the line? “I do see myself as a professional dancer in a couple of years actually, I’m finally hitting those goals I’ve always dreamed of as a kid,” he says. “I also want to be a doctor when I grow up, because I like helping people and being a doctor means you also have to have people skills which I have. So, I think that would be a good job for me.”
Jaryan’s goals exemplify Ccilu’s “liberate yourself” mantra, and also reflects the World of Dance culture. Ricky credits WOD and Ccilu for broadening the possibilities of dancers across the globe. “With dance being a universal language, my favorite aspect of hosting the WOD live competition tour is being able to share and communicate with dancers from all over the world who have a similar appreciation for this artform and culture,” he says. After all, the lessons learned on the dance floor are meant to extend outward, and inward. “Our name is a metaphor for the impact dance has on our lives,” Ricky explains. “It keeps our Soul Fresh, new, and inspired!”
Perhaps Jaryan says it best at the conclusion of the video, where he describes the Ccilu Grand Prize trip to LA as, “One of the best experiences I’ve had as a person, let alone a dancer.”