Lyle Beniga: “Cold” by Kanye West (2:24)
It feels like Lyle Beniga has been in the scene forever. I would consider him a veteran of the online video dance world (if you dig deep, you might find some grainy class videos from the mid-2000’s). Beniga continues to hone the bleeding edge of his talent, dancing on tour with Justin Timberlake and Usher, choreographing K-pop music videos, and teaching bomb routines in class.
The pacing of this choreo makes me sigh with envy. At one moment, Beniga is smooth as butter; then suddenly, he’s hitting beats like a hammer on a nail. That sort of slow-quick pacing is so difficult to make look good, since you have to hold the slow movement for as long as humanly possible, without giving away the next move, until the right moment comes at light speed. I love the “Don’t talk to me about style; Imma m*********ing embarrass you” part (0:22), where he starts more or less still, then suddenly explodes into that awesome pulling-shirt move.
And he’s got so. Much. Swag. Beniga takes a choreo and turns it into a performance.
Fun fact: Most class or workshop videos like this one show a version of the routine where the choreographer will perform an extended version of what he or she taught, along with a clip of the routine performed by a select group of students. In this case, the people in the second group are Chachi Gonzalez of IamMe (same crew as Pacman), Ian Eastwood of Mos Wanted, Keone and Mari Madrid, and Bilal, Nasir, and Suleman of Quick Crew (in the back). I love seeing dancers and choreographers take classes from one another! Glad to know that even the most talented folks out there are still looking to hone their craft.
Everything Beniga does is clean and sharp, which is doubly impressive considering how much ground he covers on the floor. He is so light on this feet, but when you think he might just float away he’ll snap himself into place on the right beat. Bonus: here’s Kevin’s favorite Beniga choreo (2:30), to The XX’s remix of You Got the Love by Florence and the Machine.