Music

Meet the Cartagena Dance Crew Behind J Balvin’s Energía Tour

Lead Photo: Photo by Itzel Alejandra for Remezcla
Photo by Itzel Alejandra for Remezcla

After a transformative year for Colombian reggaeton, J Balvin finally debuted his Buchanan’s-sponsored Energía tour in the U.S. last week. Since releasing the game-changing album last summer, Jose Osorio Balvin has exploded into the Anglo mainstream, his Willy William collab “Mi Gente” emerging as a force in the summer of Spanish-language pop. On Saturday, Balvin brought the cross-country tour to the Theater at Madison Square Garden to a sold out crowd. Never one to settle for less, the Colombian reggaetonero continues to subvert expectations in the Spanish-language music industry, dodging some of the more predictable stage antics in favor of innovation, whether it’s by planning a pop-up takeover of streetwear shop Concepts leading up to the show, showcasing his taste for high fashion by rocking a cropped Raf Simons sweater on stage, or tapping Drake affiliate Mike Carson to design his visuals.

Balvin’s global ambition shines in his live shows, where fans get to experience his staggering catalog of hits. On Saturday, he glided through album cuts like “Veneno” as well as his high-profile pop remixes, though his live setup would have been better served by a larger venue and stage.

But without a doubt, the standout element of the Balvin live show is ABC Dancers, the Cartagena-based dance crew that has tagged along with Balvin since his La Familia tour in 2015. Over email, Balvin’s camp tells Remezcla that ABC (which stands for Arte, Baile and Cultura) has collaborated with Balvin for 11 years, ever since the star saw the squad perform at a reggaeton music festival in Medellín, and recruited them to work with his team.

Balvin has tapped a handful of the crew’s members to join him on the road for the U.S. Energía tour: lead choreographer Yoel Matute, as well as Erick Rombas, Manuel Melendez, Arnulfo, and Phol Clayderman. Over the course of the Latin American leg of the tour, the crew hosted workshops everywhere from Panama to Cartagena for fans eager to learn their choreography. Drawing on styles as eclectic as krump, coupé-decalé, and hip-hop, ABC Dancers are bringing dynamic energy to the Energía tour stage.

Check out the crew below, and catch Balvin on Buchanan’s Energía tour in a city near you.

View this post on Instagram

We ready #newyork ENERG⚡️A #soldout #dancelife

A post shared by Yoel Matute (@abcdefinido_) on