“The journey of local dancers from the small gully of Vasai Nallasopara to the World Champions was really challenging filled with never ending hard work and dedication” – read Kings United dancer Pavan Rao’s Instagram handle after the most epic win of NBC’s World of Dance.
The blood, sweat, and tears that they had shed for over 10 years, finally reaped and how! The dance group consecutively left judges, including Derek Hough, Jennifer Lopez, and Ne-Yo in awe. They could give them nothing less than a perfect 100 that brought them their ultimate win and one million dollars.
The journey of Kings United
India is a dancing nation that homes several native and intricate dance forms. People who’ve grown up around the 90s will know how the national show Boogie Woogie, opened the stage for dancers from all over the country to make their way to the national stage. With time, reality shows like Dance India Dance and Dance Plus helped flock in more talent.
The Kings United dance group was born in 2008 by Suresh Mukund and Vernon Monteiro, with name Fictitious Dance Group. The crew started practicing from the streets of Mumbai and used to practically dance anywhere they got a space. From the beaches to the parking lots, from the terraces to balconies, they literally practiced anywhere they could.
How Kings United started off
Initially, the group performed in local competitions for prize money as low at Rs. 500 or $7. But every competition encouraged them to pursue this profession and keep dancing to make it big.
Thanks to the dance reality shows, the group got the recognition they needed. The crew first went on television with reality show Boogie Woogie. The judges proclaimed that Kings United have the potential to make it at international levels. And from there, there was no turning back!
Getting familiar with championships
The Kings United knew the taste of winning championships after they won India’s Got Talent Season 3 in 2011. Along with their dance, the audience found the Kings exhibit some of the incredible stunts that put their lives in danger. It is definitely an asset that sets them apart from anybody else but was probably also the reason why they lost the World Hip-Hop Dance Championship 2012.
Suresh Mukund and the Kings United gave the story to Bollywood movie ABCD 2. It summed up their journey from 2008 to represent India in World Hip-Hop Dance Championship 2012. The Kings had won millions of hearts by their acts, but one act went wrong and they lost their place. However, their inevitable loss didn’t stop them from doing the final stunt again and having the Indian flag held up high.
From breaking up to winning bronze
One of the worst phases for the Kings United came after returning to India from the World Hip-Hop Dance Championship. Their team was on the verge of breaking up.
Suresh Mukund, as usual, became the pillar for them and said that if he’s made everyone see a dream, he will help them achieve it too. They knew they had to make it big, and they chose the same platform where they had once lost. It was also the time when the Fictitious Dance Group became the Kings United, as each one of them were Kings and together united!
They had really less time to put up proper choreography, and that is when they thought of bringing the Indian culture in hip hop.
At the Prelims of World Hip-Hop Dance Championship 2015, they came third among 50 countries. Their next act took them to the finals and they secured the third position again and came home with bronze. It was the first ever team from India to secure this position in dance at a global level.
How Kings United became World Champions
Here’s how the Kings United became world champions at the NBC World of Dance:
From their backflips to the perfectly synced jumps, the electrifying performance was simply out of the world. With the highest score of 97.7 at the qualifiers round, the Kings had already made it to the top. Judges Derek Hough and Jennifer Lopez threw their shoes at the team after their performance as a sign of admiration.
2. The Duels
After securing the first position at the qualifiers, they had the liberty to choose their opponent team for the duels. They chose the Motiv Crew who secured 85.7 at the qualifiers.
Just a couple of days before the performance, two of their main flippers were injured. On the day of their performance, both of them limped their way onto the stage and limped back from it. But the performance had no faults and the audience couldn’t figure out their injury.
Mixing Bollywood with hip hop and adding the magic of song Malhari helped secure 99.3 and win against Motiv Crew. Derek Hough was so impressed that he went on stage and did one of the iconic steps of the Bollywood number.
3. The Cut
The Kings United expressed a little bit of drama, comedy, and a lot of robotics through their next act. It was refreshing, exciting, and also had the Bollywood quotient to it. With 97.7 and standing ovations from the judges, it was time for the Divisional Final.
4. Divisional Final
The Kings brought out fierceness at the divisional final. They were roaring like lions and danced to an old Bollywood number, Yeh Raat. From their makeup to their expression, from their extraordinary flips to their sudden slo-mo, every bit of it was lit! The judges gave them a 99.7 and they were into the finals.
5. World Final
The judges met the team while they were preparing for the finals and found them the least prepared. JLo told them that they had to really bring in something different on the platform to win the show.
The team disguised themselves as Spartans and had a slo-mo Baahubali angle to their act. This time, they brought out the true warriors in them and the power of passion that got them so far.
Unity LA and Kings United were the last two groups standing, after beating Briar Nolet at the 5th position, Vpeepz at the 4th position, and Ellie & Ava at the 3rd position.
A perfect 100 from all the three judges brought the Kings their winning moment against Unity LA and they scored 95.7 – what an incredible journey!
What’s in store next?
Proud team leader Suresh Mukund said that the United Kings are not going in for any more competitions. Their 10-year long dream has come true and they’ve proved their worth to the world. After becoming an inspiration to millions back in India, the team is all set to take workshops across the US, judge Indian competitions, and much more. Let’s just agree that the sky is the limit for the Kings!