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Catching up with Jason Oremus of Hammerstep dance crew (VIDEOS)

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Hammerstep tears up the
Hammerstep tears up the "America's Got Talent" stage.


Fans of NBC's "America's Got Talent" got an eyeful of jaw-dropping choreography when Hammerstep -- a group of dancers that meshes Irish dance and hip-hop -- emerged on the televised national talent show June 25. Even a panel of celebrity judges couldn't help but be blown away by the level of talent possessed by these dancers.

"Your skill level is so high that you're impossible to ignore," "AGT" judge and painfully blunt radio host Howard Stern said of the dance crew.

So, what happened to Hammerstep?
 

We know from the early audition video that Hammerstep made it through to the second round of auditions in Las Vegas, but there's been no mention of the innovative dance crew since its members first appeared on the talent show's stage, and they're not listed among the season eight finalists.
 
Hammerstep co-founder Jason Oremus was tight-lipped about the group's status on the show during a Skype interview earlier this month, but he was willing to share some of his own insights and personal experiences from the audition round. 
 
"The reaction couldn’t have been better," Oremus said, referring to the judges' initial reactions to the dancers appearing on stage donning black sweatsuits and gas masks. "The fact that there were confused initially -- there were furrowed brows, confused looks on peoples' faces -- we liked that. We wanted that."

"We didn’t want to come off as this all-pleasing, all-encompassing, generic style of dance. That wouldn't be controversial enough for what we are trying to do. We wanted to be hard-hitting and edgier," said Oremus, adding that Hammerstep aims to blur gender and cultural lines, break down barriers among different dance forms and make a strong statement about current social trends. "We are somewhat androgynous, somewhat anonymous, but, at the same time, completely unified."

After Hammerstep's performance, the dancers were showered with a slew of kudos from the judges' tables, including four unanimous "yes" votes and Stern's surprising words of praise, pushing Hammerstep on to the show's next round in Las Vegas.

"We were a little concerned about Howard Stern because he doesn’t always love dance," Oremus admitted.

Although pleased with the judges' and audience's reaction to the performance, which Oremus and Hammerstep co-founder Garrett Coleman choreographed, the crew does want to push percussive dance boundaries much further.

"We want to rip it harder. Even that was too docile," Oremus said with an enthusiastic tone that would lead one to believe Hammerstep will continue dishing out unprecedented, awe-inspiring choreographic creations.

And while there's been no official statement from "America's Got Talent" about Hammerstep's unannounced exclusion from the television show, the figurative show will go on for Oremus and his cohorts.


"We really want to get the full-scale touring show going, and we’re getting closer to realizing that goal rather than it being a bit of a distant dream," Oremus said, adding that he's looking to assemble a team willing to work on that project, and interested parties should contact him. Get in touch with Hammerstep on Facebook or through the group's official website.

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