In our Choreographer’s Roots feature, we take a quick look back at where they started to help understand where they are today. We’ve been on a SYTYCD kick lately, so today we’ll look at Napoleon and Tabitha, or “NappyTabs” as they are affectionately known.
See other Choreographer’s Roots posts here
The husband and wife team are often credited with developing the style of hip hop dance known as “lyrical hip hop”, but they started with humble beginnings until their paths met!
> Grew up in California where he learned breaking, locking & popping
> Joined the military and was stationed in Germany for a while
> Attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, studying dance (including jazz & modern) and molecular biology!
> Grew up in New Jersey
> Took jazz classes and was a cheerleader, but loved watching hip hop videos
> Attended the University of Nevada for communications, where she met Napoleon
> Began teaching hip hop classes together at the Las Vegas Athletic club
> Joined the dance company “Culture Shock” (future members of Jabbawockeez) and danced, choreographed and eventually became Artistic Directors
> Married in 1998 and moved to Los Angeles and started teaching at The Edge Performing Arts Center (where they still teach today!)
> Worked as back-up dancers for Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Toni Braxton, Timbaland and more
> Choreographed for NBA and NFL dance & cheer teams
> Joined Monsters of Hip Hop and teach master classes
> Assistant Directed Christina Aguelera’s and Ricky Martin’s tours
> Tabitha created a fitness DVD “Drop it with Dance”
> They have been supervising choreographers for ABDC and have choreographed for SYTYCD, where their choreography “Bleeding Love” was nominated for an Emmy
Now they have started their own clothing line (NappyTabs) for hip hop dancers, started working with Circque du Soleil, and Dancing with the Stars and continue to expand their brand.
Sources: Dance Plug, Wikipedia, Twitter,