Fr3sh gained national recognition when six of its members auditioned and got onto America’s Best Dance Crew. The New Jersey team was voted off within the first week, but since then the entire Fr3sh Dance Troupe (Fr3sh, Fr3sh Juniors, Fr3sh Freestyle) had been performing non-stop. Though Fr3sh has ended due to personal reasons, the team members are still performing whenever possible. One member, Bo Belza, spent some time to let me interview him about his performing, teaching, and dancing life.
On Bo’s background:
Debohnee “Bo” Adam Belza, 22, currently lives in Union, NJ and is a student at Kean for graphic design. Growing up, Bo watched a lot of Michael and Janet Jackson, NSYNC, Britney Spears, and Usher. He hoped to become like these famous dancers, or at least like their back up dancers. He claims that his dance past doesn’t consist of much; he grew up loving to dance, “When I was little I was always the one who wanted to learn all the line dances, and dance with the Titas. And during the teenager parties, I liked dancing to reggae and being able to shake my hips. It wasn’t a big thing…it was just…something cool that I liked to do.”
In fact, it wasn’t until high school that Belza knew he wanted to dance. He along with his friends decided to form their own team for their high school talent show consisting of only hip hop choreography. During this time period, Bo became friends with Bryan East (East later became an ABDC alum as well with Boogie Bots.) East then told Belza about auditioning for Fr3sh. After high school, he sought out Fr3sh, auditioned, and became a trainee. Since then, he’s been able to dance with a select few for New York’s Carnival Choreographer’s Ball and worked his way up as director and Co-Artistic Assistant Director of FR3SH Juniors. Bo also teaches at the American Ballet Academy.
Belza’s family has been with him every step of the way, “spending crazy amounts of money on my trips, on my outfits, on gas, on tuition- anything and everything.” While his mom is an avid supporter, his dad has a lot of doubt about a career in dancing. Despite this, both parents, Bo’s older brother, and even his cousins try to go to all of his performances.
On FR3SH and FR3SH Juniors
From the lack of studio space to strenuous hours, FR3SH was faced with a lot of hardships. The hardest thing for Bo was, “being able to keep up with everyone else….meeting the expectations of my directors.” Regardless of the struggles, FR3SH still made it through together: “The chemistry that we all had as a whole was amazing.” And that statement is proven in the many functions that the LLC has spent together – Camp FR3SH, FR3SH dinners, holiday parties, rehearsals for FR3SH’s annual Main Event, and e-board meetings. “There’s a reason why there’s a three in FR3SH,” he tells me, “and one of them stands for family.”
It was not only FR3SH that Bo had his ups and downs with either. He struggled to maintain a consistent schedule for the FR3SH Juniors, causing the directors to come up with sets in a short amount of time. But the ability to teach, to direct, and to be able to watch these kids grow up into mature adults and become better dancers is what made the stress all worth it. Another perk of running Juniors is that he ran the team with his best friend, Katrina Badiola: “Without her, this experience wouldn’t have been fun.” Belza explains that his role as Co-Artistic Assistant Director was to inspire, to teach, and to lead. When asked if there were any potential big stars within the group of young teenagers, Bo responded enthusiastically: Jason Lai (Mooks), Christian Dugenio (Mooks), Katrina Endozo (Miracle Project), Joseph Ancheta (Mooks, Project D), Lloyd Gerald Ortuoste (Fr3sh Jrs. Alum, Mooks), Megan Guirnela (Miracle Project), Jarryl Tan, and Luis “Bong” Buno (Fr3sh Jrs. Alum, Mooks, FR3SH). He went on to say that everyone on the team has potential, but all in due time.
His job as a teacher at ABA has also helped him when directing FR3SH Juniors. He states that he learned to not be so critical when it comes to teaching younger children. He’s learned how to deal with a group of kids that weren’t at the same level with each other when it came to dancing: “It was hard at first, because you’d have to cater to the kids who are more advanced than others.” He made sure to bring the positive environment of the dance lessons to directing Junior practices.
On his choreography
People say you can know the dancer through their dance. When asked who is Bo Belza based off of his choreography, Bo replied, “Bo Belza, is a very sexual, emotional, sassy, fierce, and innovative dancer.” This could also be seen in his list of dream collaborations ranging from choreographers like Phillip Geniza, Mia Michaels, Marty Kudelka, Sean Everisto, Sh*t Kingz, Ian Eastwood, and Mariel Martin to performers like Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Usher.
Gaining emotional and visual inspiration from anything, Bo can just be driving in the car and the certain way a song’s beat is dropped causes a whole collection of ideas to run through his mind. He tells me that one thing every choreographer should have is the capability of being true to oneself. “Do what YOUR body is telling you to do and what your heart is telling you to do. A lot of choreographer’s nowadays tried to do cool things with their pieces, but if it’s coming from your soul and you’re making it your own, than you’ll be known for that alone.” Also, Bo expects his dancers to meet his choreography’s standards. If he were to make a dance based off of the dancers, “it wouldn’t be really coming from my own inspirations.” The best advice that he was ever given was to always stay on his toes, “because there’s always someone who is always going to be younger and much more talented than you.” In 5 years, Bo hopes his technique and style has grown and that his dancing level has increased immensely. He also hopes to be able to audition for So You Think You Can Dance or an agency.
His message to anyone wanting to become a dancer is: “Don’t give up. It’s a hard profession to get into. Even if you’re doing it for fun, don’t give up. Keep pushing to your limits. There will be times where you want to just give up and forget it, but if it’s in your heart, if it’s what you’re fighting for, then keep going for it. No one’s going to stop you but yourself. You could be ridiculed and badgered, but it feeds more fuel to the fire and gives you more of a reason to keep pushing. Take as many classes as you can possibly take. Leave your ego at the door. Stay humble.”
Though he is major in graphic design, Bo isn’t against the idea of having a career in dancing. Backup dancing, to him, would be amazing. If he’s not dancing, Belza can be seen hanging out with friends, going to school, doing homework, and staying in dancing shape. He can also sing, draw, and play both piano and guitar. He also prides that he can crack his pinky at will.
On FR3SH Dance Troupe and UFP:
Now that Fr3sh is over, Bo and a few members are directing a new dance group called UFP with his peers. He’s hoping that UFP will be an amazing and wonderful experience, and an impact in the dance community. Directing alongside him is his best friend again, Katrina Badiola, along with Cindy Ho (Fr3sh ABDC), Cristi Dash, Daniel Duma (Fr3sh ABDC), Leslie Hubilla (Fr3sh ABDC), and Samantha Guirnela. The group will be run by Kim Tam of Arts in Motion Dance Academy. Bo is hoping for a fresh start with new and familiar faces.
Video: Bo Belza teaching Junior Private Intensive and FR3SH Company Practice