A reality show starring six breakdancers from Whitehorse trying to make it big in Toronto may not be what critics expect to be TV’s next big hit.
But that’s what dance crew Groundwork Sessions is hoping for.
Yukon-raised Riley Simpson-Fowler, Jordan Reti, Karl Loos, George Rivard and brothers Ben, Nick and Alex Robinson have made a YouTube video as part of a contest to have their own reality show on MTV.
The casting call asked groups of friends to make a three-minute video of their real lives. Contestants urged supporters to watch and post comments on YouTube to help the producers choose the final pitch.
“They were looking for a tight group of friends. We figured we hang out all the time so we may as well do it on camera,” said Ben Robinson. “There’s lots of times where someone will do something really funny or wipe out and we say, ‘Aw, we should have got that on camera.’”
Their show may capture moments like when dance crew member Rivard was trying to jump off bike racks over a garbage can.
“We were saying, ‘Dude, you’re not going to make it.’ He landed on the garbage can sitting and he just kind of bounced,” said Robinson.
Unlike other reality shows on MTV that are rumoured to be scripted, the Whitehorse dance crew said theirs would be genuine.
“Everyone’s got their own personality so you don’t need a script for funny stuff to happen,” said Robinson. “We’re just us.”
Ben is the “adult” who will let the guys know if they’re making a stupid decision. Simpson-Fowler is the “lady’s man,” Reti seems to be the “most intimidating” but he’s actually an artist. The “quirky one” is Alex. Nick always locks his keys in the car and Rivard is the “do-everything friend.”
Aside from capturing candid moments in the life of breakdancers, the boys hope it will showcase territory’s beauty.
“The other vision for the show would be to promote the Yukon as well, not that we’re running away and never coming back,” said Robinson.
Almost half of their three-minute audition video features the territory’s scenery. The boys are shown breakdancing on Grey Mountain’s helicopter pad, walking in the bush and riding in a fishing boat with snow-capped mountains in the distance.
“There could be a tourism aspect, but mostly I think it’s about people seeing there’s stuff happening in the Yukon and we don’t live in igloos,” said Robinson.
“A lot of the comments are people congratulating us and saying, ‘You put Yukon on the map.’”
One viewer wrote, “The Yukon is proud of you guys. Show them that art and culture is strong in the true North!”
The Groundwork Sessions members credit the arts and dance scene up here for helping them get started and they thank the government for some funding. But they say Toronto is one of the country’s dance capitals and would help them launch their careers.
“There’s way more opportunity performance-wise,” said Robinson. “Toronto has a bigger scene and more people to learn from.”
They hope the big city and the social network sites give them the exposure they’re looking for.
As part of the casting call, they had to get people to view and share their video on Facebook and Twitter. They already had a fan page on Facebook, but had to adapt to some new technology.
“We gave in and got Twitter,” said Nick. “It’s pretty lame.”
It may not be so lame if it scores them a reality show on the entertainment network.
“That’s an experience that lots of people would want to do,” said Ben.
Contact Larissa Robyn Johnston at