The seven-member Phunk Phenomenon adult dance group will be appearing on the Music Television (MTV) show, “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew” that airs at 10 p.m.
It’s the culmination of Briggs-Connor’s years of hard work in building the Phunk Phenomenon studio into the preeminent hip-hop dance center in New England. Three hundred students take lessons at the dance studio that was founded in 2003 by Briggs-Connor, a former New England Patriots cheerleader and Miss Teen Chelsea pageant winner.
Briggs-Connor, 36, is in California with her Phunk Phenomenon team that is ready to compete for the $100,000 first prize on the show. The team has trained under her tutelage for several years. The seven dancers auditioned for the MTV show in January and received a phone call at the studio from Randy Jackson, well known as a judge on “American Idol” informing them they had earned a spot on the show.
Briggs-Connor started Phunk Phenomenon 15 years ago at Gold’s Gym in Everett where she would rent space. She then took the leap into opening her own dance studio in Everett. Among her many accomplishments is the creation of the Boston Celtics Junior Dancers.
Briggs-Connor, who has done acting and modeling in her career and performed in front of 60,000 fans a game for five years as a Patriots’ cheerleader, knows that this achievement is a special one.
“I feel very excited and proud and I’m anxious,” said Briggs-Connor who met Randy Jackson this week. “It’s a big deal to us so we’re happy and proud.”
Briggs-Connor began her dancing career at the age of 3 at Genevieve Spinelli’s Dance Studio in Chelsea. She studied dance there for 18 years and became a teacher at the studio that is still in existence today.
“I always remember where I came from,” said Briggs-Connor. “I’m grateful to Genevieve for all her great teaching and support.”
Briggs-Connor was a cheerleader in the Chelsea Pop Warner organization and continued in the sport at Chelsea High School where she became a captain of the squad in her senior year. She graduated from CHS in 1991 and a year later earned a spot on the New England Patriots cheerleading squad.
Briggs-Connor’s dance teams have won regional, national, and world hip hop championships. And now all of America and Briggs-Connor’s friends and family in Chelsea will be watching Phunk Phenomenon perform on national television.
“I guess I’m a little bit of an overachiever,” said Briggs-Connor in a telephone interview from California this week. “I keep pushing and pushing but I never thought I’d see this. Do we deserve it? Yes, because we worked for it, but I didn’t expect it. I think we can win. I have confidence in my team. I hope our success inspires more kids to dance and pursue their dreams and realize that they can make a career out of the arts.”
The Phunk Phenomenon team is dedicating its efforts to Reia-Briggs-Connor and Everett Police officer Rick Connor’s six-year-old son, Jared, who is afflicted with Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare disease.
The producers of the MTV show filmed a television segment at the Everett studio with Reia and her husband and their son, helping to raise awareness for the disease.