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Mark Keppel Hip-Hop Team Makes Their Mark on “World of Dance” and U.S. Nationals

MKAM performing during World of Dance "The Duels" episode on March 24, 2019. (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)


Alhambra , CA United States

After a strong start during the qualifying round of NBC’s “World of Dance,” the Mark Keppel High School All-Male Hip-Hop Dance Team, or MKAM, were narrowly edged out in the next two rounds of the televised competition, but went on to win Miss Dance Drill Team’s U.S. Grand National Championship for the second time.

They lost by 0.3 points on “World of Dance” in their “duel” against Elektro Crew, but were given one more chance in the redemption round, where the two highest-scoring teams eliminated in the duel rounds compete. They lost by one point during that round as well, ending their time on “World of Dance.”

Activate Arroyo, MKAM’s artistic director and teacher, said that a number of circumstances hampered the team’s “World of Dance” performances, including an injury that forced MKAM team member Erick Moreno to sit out the duel and redemption rounds.

“I’m super proud of their performance, and their tenacity and grit in pulling together at the last minute to still put their best foot forward,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo also said the way they worked together was fitting, given MKAM’s rise from underdog to the team to beat in various high school dance competitions. In March, MKAM swept the small male and large male team categories at the West Coast Elite Dance National Competition, and won the overall competition out of more than 700 teams. They won the same categories at Miss Dance Drill Team’s U.S Nationals and World Championships, as well as the U.S. Grand National Championship, the biggest prize at the largest dance competition in the country. MKAM is the only high school team to win the overall title twice at this competition.

“That has always been part of our story,” Arroyo said. “When we get kicked down, we always get back up on our feet.”

The team is now preparing for the Miss Dance Drill Team International Competition in Osaka, Japan this August. They’ll also perform their spring show on May 10 at a still to be determined location. Arroyo will also be holding auditions next week for Mark Keppel students who want to join MKAM, as well as students from other high schools who want to transfer into the high school’s weighted honors dance program.

“This is definitely not the last you’ll be hearing about MKAM,” Arroyo said. “We’re looking forward to the many opportunities that are coming our way as a result of this show.”

For more information about MKAM auditions, visit the team’s website.

MKAM’s “duel” round performance on “World of Dance”:

MKAM’s redemption round performance on “World of Dance”:

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