This year at the 1st Impact of Japan Expo USA marked the first US appearance of kids dance group J☆Dee’Z, where they did multiple performances and appearances throughout the convention. As I later found out, they’ve been working together for about 3 years and have a major debut in Japan planned for the near future. The group has won multiple dance competitions in Japan including some nation-wide events with over 8,000 contestants, and after seeing them perform, its easy to see why.
These girls were exuding charisma and dance talent from head to toe, even though the group has an average age of 12 years old. They performed with just as much enthusiasm as their older peers in the industry, making a huge impression on the crowd in Santa Clara.
They first appeared at the main hall stage as an intro act to the cosplay masquerade on Saturday. The room was packed with an audience for their first show, and they did a great job entertaining everyone there.
Here’s a few shots from their first performance:
The girls rocked their way through three dance numbers at their first performance, all very energetic hip-hop tunes with lively dance numbers. They had lots of good crowd interaction and very tight performance, making for an impressive show. They had a short intro after the performance where a translator came out to do a really short interview for everyone to learn a little more about the group.
Shortly after the performance, I got a chance to sit down with the girls and ask some questions about the group and what they do. My questions are in bold print and their answers are below.
SH: Please introduce yourselves!
Miek: I’m Meik, 13 years old.
Nono: I’m Nono, 12 years old.
Ami: I’m Ami, 12 years old.
Momoka: I’m Momoka, 13 years old.
SH: How do you like the US so far? Is this your first time here?
Meik: I really like the look of everything being in English. I like it when I see English on things in Japan, but here, its kinda overwhelming how everything is in English, but I love it!
Nono: The scenery is very pretty and very not-Japanese, its really nice for someone who has lived in Japan their whole life.
Momoka: Its a little weird, but I was really surprised by traffic signals, the fact that it counts down when you’re able to walk across the street..
SH: How long have you been together as a group?
JD: We’ve actually been working together for about 3 years now.
SH: You’re all still very young, so I’d like to ask if you still go to school while you’re performing, or have you put schooling on hold for your careers? If you are still in school, is it hard to balance work and school?
Meik: Yes, we’re all still in school. It does get hard sometimes, but I just have to work hard at it and stay focused.
Nono: I agree that it does get hard sometimes, but I always hang out with my friends at school and it makes me feel better. The type of work we do is also fun in itself, so all in all, I’m having fun!
Ami: It really does get hard to balance, but I always work hard at what I do.
Momoka: We always have lots of friends, family, and fans who support us and cheer us on, so it helps us through the times when it gets hard.
SH: Who are your inspirations as a performer or who do you look up to when it comes to performance?
Meik: I really love Michael Jackson.
Nono: I like Beyonce’s performance a lot.
Ami: Katy Perry is an awesome performer!
Momoka: I like older artists like TLC and Janet Jackson.
SH: Do you ever forsee JDeeZ turning into a full vocal & dance group instead of just dance, and would you enjoy doing that?
JD: Even though we’re usually billed as a dance group, we’ll actually be singing at our live show tomorrow! We have a few original songs and some covers we’ll be performing, as well as a single coming out next year, so please keep an eye out for it!
SH: What groups or artists would you like to perform with in the future?
JD: Some of the artists and dancers we really admire are Koda Kumi, Les Twins, AI, Shimizu Shota. They’re all people we’d love to perform with in the future.
SH: What are the goals for JDeeZ in the future? Where would you like the group to be in 5 years or where would you like to be, personally?
Meik: We don’t have any specific goal as a whole, but my dream is to do One Man Live show.
Nono: I’d really like for us to be more recognized worldwide as top dancers and performers like many of our influences.
Momoka: I’d like to one day do a country-wide tour of Japan and see people in every different part.
SH: How can international fans follow the group after Japan Expo and what message do you have for the world?
JD: You can always follow our blogs, visit our homepage or Facebook. We also have our CD coming out next year, so please check it out when it releases!
Thank you for coming to Japan Expo USA and I look forward to your other activities over this weekend!
During the interview, we had some small conversations aside from the official interview questions, and these girls were so full of charisma and charm that you could instantly forget they were in their young teens, and it was a total joy to get some time to talk with them.
After the interview, J☆Dee’Z was finished with their activities for the day, but had a full day lined up for Sunday as well.
Sunday started with their second performance in the afternoon at the main stage. For this concert, not only did the perform the dance songs they performed the previous day, but they also did three of their vocal songs as well. Here’s a preview of their song “Lovely Ringer” from earlier this year (not a Japan Expo performance.)
This performance had more great crowd interaction and new outfits for the girls as well, with a more cool image this time around. Their vocals sounded awesome and they had cool dance breaks scattered in their vocal songs as well, showcasing further focus on their dance abilities and the vocal songs were really catchy. Check out some of the shots from the second show:
After this performance, they headed over to the side hall of the exhibit floor for their very own panel where they met with lots of fans and got asked a number of questions from the crowd. They had lots of fun talking about their experiences in America so far and what the future holds for the group. They also made the crowd dance with them at the panel, in their usual adorable fashion!
After the panel, they headed over to do their final autograph session for the convention, meeting with lots more fans and signing a ton of autographs for an overflowing line of people and snapping some quick photos with everyone.
This ended the activities for J☆Dee’Z at their first US appearance, with everything ending right at the same time that the whole convention closed down for the weekend. The girls seemed to make a pretty big impression on everyone there and hopefully they’ll make it back someday.
For now, you can follow the links below to see more content from them and follow them as they make their major debut release next year, and keep your eyes open for these girls, they seem to have a pretty big future ahead of them.
Official Website (Japanese)