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On the Ground

TV's Tough Competitors

Q & A with World of Dance contestants Jenalyn and Luka By Elise Tigges
  • Milacic-Perusina and Saraza-Pacheco / Photo courtesy of CTV
Jenalyn Saraza-Pacheco and Luka Milacic-Perusina are a Toronto-based cabaret ballroom couple who are set to wow the audience in season two of World of Dance, a competitive dance TV series that airs on CTV. After being cut in season one, they’re back and excited to challenge themselves.
 
The series is judged by an all-star panel, including Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, NE-YO and Jenna Dewan. Episode one of the second season aired on May 29.
 
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Elise Tigges Let’s just start off with a little bit about both of you. When did you start dancing? How did you get into it?
 
Jenalyn Saraza-Pacheco Well, I started dancing when I was two. I started out with the simple ballet, jazz, tap, acro, everything. When I was about five or six, I started salsa with my brother and I did that for about eleven years. Then, about five years ago, I met Luka and I started dancing with him.
 
Luka Milacic-Perusina Most of my background growing up was in sports, so I grew up going to football, basketball practice, rugby, track, everything. But I always had dance there alongside it. I did ballroom and I found this style called cabaret ballroom that essentially is a limitless division within ballroom. I kind of preferred that over the limited ballroom structure and I knew a person who was a Canadian champion at that time, and he knew Jenalyn. We had one training [session] together, and five years later we’re having this conversation.
 
ET That’s awesome! So, you’re both from Toronto then?
 
JSP Yes, I’m from Brampton, which is about an hour away from Toronto.
 
LMP Born and raised.
 
ET How did you get involved with World of Dance?
 
JSP My mom sent in a video. She saw an ad for World of Dance, season one, and we just submitted a video. We didn’t really think much of it. We ended up getting a callback and going to New York and starting the audition process. From there we kind of went on and they called us back and we went to LA. It was a long process, but it was a lot of fun. That was season one.
 
ET So you were on season one and now they’re airing season two?
 
LMP Exactly! We got on the show and made it to the third round. It was fantastic! Then, from there, we kept doing World of Dance events and the World of Dance live tour, as well. We kept working on what we were doing and experiencing the World of Dance life, as you could say. We got back into season two and here we are now.
 
ET What is a typical training day like for you guys?
 
LMP Honest answer to that would be whether or not Jenalyn has school.
 
JSP I’m still seventeen. I’m finishing up my grade twelve year. Right after school, I go straight to practice most of the time and we practise until 8pm or 9pm, give or take. On the weekends, we have it earlier and we do about five- to six-hour practices. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, depending on what we’re doing.
 
LMP It kind of depends. Are we on tour and we have to keep our routines fresh? Are we making new choreography, like we have been lately? Are we workshopping different ideas? Are we doing tricks?
 
ET Could you elaborate on the style of ballroom, cabaret ballroom, that you practise? You mentioned that it’s freer – how so?
 
LMP Absolutely! Within the ballroom world, there is a [cabaret ballroom] division where the only rule is essentially a time limit, and I guess you’re not allowed to use props. Outside of that, it’s up to you as to what you and your partner can create and how you can create the best show possible. Lifts are encouraged because they naturally make a show more spectacular, but again, it’s kind of up to the artists’ interpretation on how they utilize that time to their fullest advantage. As we have grown outside the ballroom world, we’ve been able to put different elements into that package, where it becomes off of the base of ballroom, but it looks like a hybrid of a bunch of different dance to try to make the best routine possible.
 
Learn more >> ctv.ca/World-Of-Dance
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