truTV Unveils the 10 Teams Set to Compete In This Fall's Eye-Popping New Series Fake Off
October 2, 2014 - This fall, 10 teams of talented performers will set out to wow viewers like never before in truTV's amazing new competition series Fake Off.
Set to premiere Monday, Oct. 27, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) as part of truTV's extensive new slate of shows, Fake Off will take viewers into the visually stunning world of faking, a mix of theater, acrobatics, black light and illusion. In an elimination competition unlike anything American audiences have seen, teams will be challenged to reimagine iconic moments in pop culture to see who's got the creativity and skills to be named Fake Off Champions and take home a prize of $100,000.
Fake Off is hosted by actor and dancer Rob Hoffman (Step Up 2: The Streets, 90210). Each week's competition challenge will be judged by an impressive panel that includes actor-dancer-choreographer Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, The LXD); music superstar and five-time Grammy winner Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of the mega-group TLC; and world renowned visual & concept designer Michael Curry (Broadway’s The Lion King, Cirque du Soleil’s Love).
Fake Off is produced by Shine America, with Eden Gaha, Paul Franklin and James Sunderland serving as executive producers.
The teams competing this fall on Fake Off come from a wide range of performance disciplines. Some specialize in complex body movement like street dancing, shadow dancing or acrobatics, while others create spectacular illusions through the use of technology like UV lights, video projection or electroluminescent wire.
Here are the 10 teams vying to be the very first Fake Off Champions, along with links to their video introductions:
ArcheDream, a black light theater troupe from Philadelphia, Penn.
The Body Poets, a street dance crew from San Diego, Calif.
Freelusion U.S.A., a video projection mapping dance group from Los Angeles by way of Budapest, Hungary.
Inspirati, a shadow dance company from Denver, Colo.
Kristef Strikes Back, a comedy acrobatics team from Las Vegas, Nev.
Lightwire Theater, a luminous puppet theater from New Orleans, La.
PUSH Physical Theatre, an extreme body-movement theater troupe from Rochester, N.Y.
Verses, a silhouette dance group from Los Angeles, Calif.
Wilderbe, an interactive video projection mapping dance company from Los Angeles, Calif.
YFX, a theatrical mime and illusion group from Detroit, Mich.
Complete details on each of the 10 teams competing this fall on Fake Off are included below.
Fake Off: The Teams
Home City: Philadelphia, Penn.
Number of Members: 6
Age Range: 23 - 40
Group Leader: Patricia Dominguez, Performer
ArcheDream is a black light theater group from Philadelphia. Black light theater uses UV lighting to give the illusion of props and characters moving magically on stage.
The team, which tours internationally, makes all their props by hand, using hundreds of gallons of fluorescent paint and enough cardboard to cover an Olympic-size swimming pool. With a hot glue gun they can create entirely new worlds.
The six core members would love to make this their full-time career, but they have to pay the bills. Group leader Patricia Dominguez teaches fencing, while other day jobs include dog walker, barista and computer analyst. There's even a neuroscientist among them.
Last winter a major snowstorm caused the roof of ArcheDream's studio to collapse. Fortunately, the team was not in the studio at the time. The loss of their studio space almost spelled the end for ArcheDream, but Fake Off has given them a reason to carry on. If they take the top prize, they plan to use the money to set up a new studio.
The Body Poets
Home City: San Diego, Calif.
Number of Members: 10
Age Range: 18 - 36
Group Leader: Omeed Simontob, Founder/Performer
The Body Poets are a street dance crew from San Diego, Calif. Led by the charismatic Omeed Simontob, the group started out as street dancers, putting a cap down for tips. It kept them out of trouble, and they bonded as brothers.
The Body Poets see themselves as much more than just dancers. They're entertainers – or as Omeed likes to say, "We're professional pretenders."
Omeed is a long-time Michael Jackson fan and calls him the "Original Faker." He hopes to pay homage to the King of Pop in a fake onstage.
The Body Poets have never worked with props before, so Fake Off could be an enormous challenge. But it's a challenge they're willing to face head on.
The Body Poets are struggling financially, primarily because they live in different parts of the country and can only meet up for gigs. Winning Fake Off could lead to a permanent show and a secure home base.
Home City: Los Angeles, Calif., and Budapest, Hungary
Number of Members: 6 (4 performers)
Age Range: 20 - 40
Group Leader: Timea Papp, Choreographer/Dancer
Freelusion USA is a 3D video projection mapping dance group from Los Angeles by way of Budapest, Hungary. Growing up in small town Hungary, team leader Timea Papp dreamed of performing in the USA, and Fake Off has given her that incredible opportunity.
To help realize her vision, Timea joined forces with three American dancers: Romeo, a street dancer; Jeremy, who excels at acrobatics; and Enzo, a B-Boy. All of them have had to learn to dance while interacting with video and props.
3D video mapping is extremely precise. Millions of pixels are projected onto screens and objects, such as giant cubes, the floor and even the human body. One false move or a missed mark, and the illusion is broken.
Fake Off is Timea's opportunity to fulfill her American dream and put Freelusion USA on the world map.
Home City: Denver, Colo.
Number of Members: 12 (11 performers)
Age Range: 18 - 40
Group Leader: KieAnn Brownell, Director
Inspirati is a shadow dance company based out of Denver and led by KieAnn Brownell. Inspirati dancers use their bodies to interact with custom-made graphics to tell entertaining and emotive stories on stage.
KieAnn hired choreographer and Broadway performer Stephen Ewing to bring her shadow world alive for Fake Off. The Inspirati dancers perform between a projector and a large screen to cast shadows out to the audience. Timing is everything. They must hit every mark in line with the projected graphics precisely, or the image won't work.
The company prides itself on the caliber of its dancers. All are highly trained technically, but there are one or two with extra skills, such as aerial experience and even belly-dancing, which they hope to use on Fake Off.
The dream for Inspirati is to become a worldwide traveling show – shining light and making shadows wherever they go.
Kristef Strikes Back
Home City: Las Vegas, Nev.
Number of Members: 4
Age Range: 25 - 31
Group Leader: Kristofer Saly and Stefan Liden, Performers
Kristef Strikes Back is a comedy acrobatics team from Las Vegas, Nev. Formed by Kris and Stefan (i.e. Kristef), they combine comedy and acrobatics in a totally unique way.
Born into circus families and friends since they were 6 years old, Kris and Stefan seem born to do hand-balancing and other acrobatic feats. As a duo they've traveled the world, but for Fake Off they've doubled in size to include Jacky, Kris's fiancée, and Faegann. So performing with "girls" will be a Kristef first.
The team has also never performed with props, nor worked within a particular theme. And it could be a challenge for Stefan's strong body to embrace storytelling. But the entire team is ready for anything Fake Off can throw at them.
Home City: New Orleans, La.
Number of Members: 8
Age Range: 19 - 45
Group Leader: Ian Carney, Director
Lightwire Theater is a luminous puppet theater from New Orleans. Through their manipulation of electroluminescent wire - EL wire – they are able to tell stories with their own cast of unique and crazy characters.
Lightwire Theater started out in group leader Ian Carney's one-bedroom apartment in New York City. Ian would build his tiny EL wire creatures and test them out after dark in Central Park – much to the annoyance of the cops.
Ian is the sole engineer of the Lightwire characters. He brought enough EL wire to the Fake Off stage to stretch over 16 football fields, plus enough tools to fill a hardware store. Originally designed for party hats and raves, EL wire can be extremely temperamental, losing its glow at any time. As Ian says, "No glow, no show."
Ian's wife, Eleanor, also performs in the group. They first met in ballet class at age 13, but it wasn't until much later that they fell in love and got married. Eleanor is the practical one, while Ian is the creative genius type. According to Ian, "Faking, is just about the coolest thing I've been a part of,"
PUSH Physical Theatre
Home City: Rochester, N.Y.
Number of Members: 6
Age Range: 26 - 43
Group Leader: Darren Stevenson, Artistic Director/CEO
PUSH Physical Theatre is exactly that – a physical theatre group from Rochester, N.Y. Led by husband-and-wife team Darren and Heather Stevenson, PUSH is all about pushing their bodies and the boundaries of live theatre to the extreme as they tell stories.
In 1999, Darren and Heather saw the movie The Matrix and said to each other, "We can do those moves without the special effects," and suddenly PUSH was born. The group specializes in the manipulation of time – slowing it down or speeding it up to punctuate the storyline. It's a lot harder to do than it looks.
Darren and Heather have two grown sons, one of whom is in the Army to become a Ranger Special Ops.
Darren sees Fake Off as the most exciting adventure in the history of PUSH. It's a chance for nationwide recognition and a more secure future.
Home City: Los Angeles, Calif.
Number of Members: 7 (6 performers)
Age Range: 19 - 28
Group Leader: Jess Warfield, 28, Director/Choreographer
Verses, a silhouette dance group from Los Angeles, Calif., is an eclectic group of friends led by the irrepressible Jess Warfield. Three years ago, Jess was diagnosed with Lupus, which means she's in constant pain and is always tired. But far from giving up, she says it motivates her to push harder – hence competing in Fake Off.
The big difference between Verses and the other shadow group on Fake Off, Inspirati, is that Verses uses three separate screens, which allows them to have different depths of field.
There are only six performers in Verses, so each routine is 90 seconds of pure cardio for the dancers. They're not only dancing, but also changing light gels, holding up cutouts and manipulating fabric. They have a cue at every second and have to hit their marks, or everything will fall apart.
Home City: Los Angeles, Calif.
Number of Members: 9 (5 performers)
Age Range: 24 - 37
Group Leader: Nova Han, Producer/Performer
Wilderbe is an interactive video mapping dance company from Los Angeles, Calif. Group leader Nova Han is the creative force behind this team of artists, dancers, circus performers and technical wizards.
Nova, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, has a big, over-the-top, zany personality, not to mention some really crazy ideas. She started out as a circus performer, but after 10 years gave it up overnight for a new vision – Wilderbe.
The name Wilderbe comes from Nova wanting to instill bewilderment in people. She feels the group is unique with its technology and has a forward-thinking edge. They strive to use their video mapping to enhance a story, although sometimes the tech guys and the dancers don't see eye to eye.
Nova's parents are from Korea, and they worked hard to give her and her three siblings a better life. She feels a tremendous responsibility to give back, and Fake Off is the platform from which she can do that.
Home City: Detroit, Mich.
Number of Members: 9
Age Range: 18 - 48
Group Leader: Todd Farley, Owner/Creator
YFX is a theatrical mime and illusion group from Detroit, Mich., a city that has been going through tough times lately. YFX stands for Young Phoenix Rising. It aims to provide a safe and fun environment where the community can learn the fundamentals of mime, movement and performance.
YFX is the low-tech team of the entire competition. They build everything from scratch and hope their enthusiasm and acting ability will shine through.
Company leader Todd Farley has taught mime for more than 35 years and has toured more than 40 countries. An early student was Darren Stevenson, whose PUSH Physical theatre is also competing in Fake Off. Who will win out – the master of the student?
The members of YFX usually take a year to prep and stage a piece, so the time constraints on Fake Off will be an enormous challenge, but it's one they can definitely handle.