When NBC’s “World of Dance” returns for its fourth season (10 p.m. Tuesday, May 26), two Seattle-area teens will be among the competitors showing off their moves.
James Ades, of Kent, and Harris Weiskopf, of Bellevue, who met about five years ago through the Allegro Performing Arts Academy in Kent, will compete for a $1 million grand prize.
Hosted by Scott Evans with judges Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and Ne-Yo, the new season of “World of Dance” completed filming just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down Hollywood production.
Ades and Weiskopf originally auditioned via video last September at the start of their junior years of high school. Ades was at Kentlake High School and Weiskopf was registered at Sammamish High School while attending classes through the Running Start program at Bellevue College.
The teens had danced together before “World of Dance” but usually on larger group competition teams, not as a duo, for a specific reason: “Us together is nonstop goofing off and having fun and pulling each other’s chains,” Ades says. He credits Allegro instructor and choreographer Patrick Pulkrabek with putting the two together for “World of Dance.”
“He saw an opportunity and we took it and we became a duo,” Weiskopf says.
After their first audition submitted on video, the pair were invited to audition in-person in Los Angeles.
“We really were going in at 100%,” Weiskopf says. “Not only is it crazy to think we had this opportunity, but it’s also our future and could impact our lives for the rest of our careers. We were in it to win it.”
Once notified they’d made it to the next stage, the pressure began to mount.
“Crap, this is awesome, this is amazing, but the other half of me was like, the world is going to see me dance, I better be my best. I have to be like a trained athlete,” Weiskopf says.
“Dance is my life,” Ades adds. “This is my chance to put myself out there.”
Described as contemporary dancers on “World of Dance,” Ades says their trainer is a ballet choreographer so they aimed to be versatile, working on a fusion of styles as they spent five hours a day in the dance studio for two months before “World of Dance” began shooting its new season early this year.
Both teens grew up as hip-hop dancers — Ades remembers at age 5 dancing to a Michael Jackson song at his uncle’s wedding — but they’ve also felt what Weiskopf describes as the stigma of being male dancers.
“I’m in love with dance but it was very hard for me because people had misconceptions about who that made me,” he says. “When I told people I was a male dancer, there were a lot of labels attached with that. I just wanted to explain to the world, your art can never dictate who you are. You dictate who you are.”
Both dancers have acting experience and have appeared in music videos — Ades in Macklemore’s “Marmalade”; Weiskopf in Nia Sioux’s “Flxxn” — and both grew up watching Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” which began in 2005, more than a decade before “World of Dance” premiered.
Now the teens aim to use their “World of Dance” experience to help launch careers in entertainment.
“I just want to dive head first into art and creating and exploring,” says Weiskopf, who plans to wind up in California. “And for me, I honestly don’t know what that means because work is evolving and changing and you never know what’s gonna happen.”