Keone and Mari Madrid Take ‘World of Dance' by Storm

The show marks the couple's first time competing as a pair

From hanging with Justin Bieber to performing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," married performers Keone and Mari Madrid are no strangers to fame.

But now the couple is dancing directly into the spotlight, competing for a $1 million prize on in NBC's hit competition show "World of Dance." 

The couple has previously starred in Bieber’s "Love Yourself" music video and received a nomination for an MTV Video Music Award for their choreography in a Flying Lotus music video. Now they're among the professional dancers from more than 25 countries competing as individuals, pairs, or in groups in "World of Dance."

The show's star-studded panel of judges, which includes executive producer Jennifer Lopez, former "Dancing With the Stars" professional Derek Hough and singer Ne-Yo, scores the performers on their dances in five categories and determines whether the dancers will move on to the next round. 

But professional dance stardom doesn't happen overnight. Both dancers started their careers in their teen years—Keone in San Diego, California, and Mari in Boulder, Colorado.

"I played basketball for 10 years and transitioned my way to dance," Keone said. "It wasn’t the popular decision at the time. Dancing wasn’t really trendy as far as males go … I just fell in love with it. I always had an affinity for dance."

The couple started dating after they taught a dance workshop together and later married on June 10, 2012. They have worked together before, but "World of Dance" marks their first time competing as a pair. As a dance duo and married couple, Keone and Mari joke that they actually need to schedule time apart instead of try to get together like other dancing pairs.

"We are very willing to work with each other to do what we have to do to get something that we’re proud of … which isn’t always easy." Mari said. "But I think with that communication and commitment, we’re always willing to figure it out."

The couple characterize their style as "Urban Dance," but the nuance of their style transcends traditional dance categories.

"I think in dance shows there's been more ballroom, or contemporary, or even more trick stuff, but we're not any of those things," Keone said. "We're more subtle, we like to use storytelling and we like to be intricate sometimes with our musicality."

The couple tries to thread a narrative through their dance performances to help people to relate to their work. Keone and Mari’s performance in the "Duels" round of "World of Dance" focused on the idea that people use their cell phones too much and lose sight of the world around them.

"There are so many interesting things that we as humans go through in society," Keone said. "We're always keen on relatability because we understand that not everyone understands the technicalities of dancing … but what everyone will understand is a story, and if we're able to reach them that way, then hopefully we can reach more people."

Catch Keone and Mari on "World of Dance" Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT.

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