Global groove


Senior Da’Zhaun Hicks is launched into the air by his dance crew, the Funkywunks. The crew was able to perform on the television show World of Dance.

As senior Da’Zhaun Hicks got off his overnight flight to Shanghai, people started taking photos and recording him. He got used to this attention because when people in China see Americans, they assume they are famous. Hicks might not be famous yet, but he is on his way.

Hicks has been dancing since age 3. When he started, he never pictured himself traveling to Los Angeles to pursue a music career, performing on the competitive dance show World of Dance, or being hired for the Dolce and Gabbana fall/winter fashion show, all by the age of 18.

All of these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and Hicks feels more than blessed to be a part.

“I could not think of much when I landed in China,” Hicks said. “I was overwhelmed with emotions, and truly felt blessed with the opportunity.”

Over Thanksgiving break, Hicks and his dance crew, the Funkywunks, traveled to Shanghai, China. They were hired to perform a dance routine in Dolce and Gabbana’s fashion show. He was there for six days – the flight alone was 18 hours there and 13 hours back.

Shanghai is obviously different from America, according to Hicks, but he thought it was cool being thrown into a different culture and adjusting to their customers and how they live.

“My favorite thing about China was how everyone had their own individual style and how they expressed themselves through how they dressed,” Hicks said. “Being able to go to the markets or the mall and show was definitely my favorite experience, and they had some really unique stuff that I liked.”

The show took place on Wednesday, Nov. 21, was one-hour long and was titled “The Great Show”.

For the Funkywunks, this trip means that their brand is expanding and becoming international. Before China, the crew’s break was on the competitive dance show, World of Dance. He was able to do what he loves in front of a national audience. The group was back and forth in the competition for about a month, but lost in The Duels by .3 points to another dance crew.

“It was just a lot of fun, it was not nerve wracking even though it was a big platform to be on and we had a lot riding on it,” Hicks said.

Hicks believes that some dance competition shows “want you to fail” due to lack of engagement from the audience, but this was not the case for World of Dance. According to Hicks, there were a lot of people in the audience, but they had good energy and really fed into the performance.

On top of receiving all of these opportunities, Hicks gets to experience them with his closest friends, the members of the Funkywunks crew. Julie Johnson created the Funkywunks in 2015 and put Hicks in the group in 2016. Hicks was brought to her by the man who taught Hicks how to dance, and he has been with them ever since.

“The family bond that is made from being in the group is like no other. I feel like I have a bunch of brothers and sisters out of everyone there,” Hicks said.

However, Hicks did not start off with the FunkyWunks. Hicks’ mother, who is currently a teacher at Hagerty, was a dancer, so he was always around dance. He saw it as something he could use to express himself in a different way as a child, inspiring him to continue with it.

He has danced for different dance teams and companies such as DemStreet, Extreme and Legendary. His team won the Dance World Championships in 2017, the primary dance competition held every year at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports. This competition features dancers from around the world hoping to earn the top spot and being crowned world champion. Additionally, he has been recognized by major Los Angeles choreographers. Dancing is something Hicks always turns to when feeling low and recommends it to anyone interested.

“There is no wrong way to dance,” Hicks said. “However I feel like expressing myself is how I dance in that moment.”

According to Hicks, the Funkywunks have a lot of big things lined up including a lot of performances around the country, and events that cannot be discussed yet. For him personally he has music coming out soon, and the group is often planning things for the future to further expose their brand and get their name out.

Watch the Funkywunks perform in The Duels by clicking here