Shafeek Westbrook may be a street breakdancer, but he had a clear mission when he turned up for New York’s “So You Think You Can Dance” auditions. He wanted to prove to judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Tyce Diorio that breakers can cross genres. Mission accomplished.
Fans of the show know it’s true. We’ve seen hip-hoppers like Tadd Gadduang make it not only to Las Vegas, but to the final rounds of the competition. And it looks like 22-year-old Shafeek, a Philadelphia native, may be another contender to take his game from the streets to the highest echelons of the dance world.
His routine combined classic breakdance moves with a contemporary, interpretive flow that left the judges breathless. And not only was his dance amazing, so was his inspiration:
“A friend of mine died in 9/11,” he said. “My dance was supposed to be him climbing out of the rubble of the World Trade Center.”
Shafeek, you had us at hello.