Precision dance Thursday, May 15 2008 


Kaba Modern, featuring Arcadia resident Jia Huang, who helps coach the Orchesis Dance Co. at Arcadia High School, performs to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” (Photo courtesy of MTV)

ARCADIA – Reinventing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and adding hip-hop flair to Grease’s “You’re the One That I Want” with her group Kaba Modern, Jia Huang has come a long way from the Chinese folk dances she did as a 5-year-old.Along with five other members of the group, the 24-year-old Arcadia resident recently glided and shimmied into living rooms in the premiere season of MTV’s “Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew.”

The group finished in third place, but, as judges pointed out, Huang and teammates Yuri Tag of Irvine and Cindy Minowa of Michigan were the top-finishing women in the competition.

Kaba Modern’s other members are Troy Tran of West Covina, Lawrence Kao of Hacienda Heights and Mike Song of Torrance.

“Ya’ll are the future,” exclaimed Judge Shane Sparks, heaping praise on the group after its energetic, fluid reworking of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

But now that the show is over, Huang is back to more humble roots, teaching at local dance studios and with Arcadia High School’s Orchesis Dance Co., which she danced with as a student. But there’s a twist. In the wake of her “15 minutes of fame,” Huang was part of the draw for the high school dance company’s spring production last week. In addition to co-directing the group and choreographing a couple of the pieces in the production, she signed autographs for those who came to the shows.

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