From Spiking to Acting

By Julian Kwong

Gabriel Darku, the 17 year old from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is not only the recent all-star volleyball player on the 18U Pakmen volleyball team, but was also part of the McDonalds commercial released during the 2012 London Olympic games. While working in Yellowknife, he, along with 7 other McDonalds employees, gathered in Toronto to do a dance on creating the new (at the time) Chicken McBistro. Candidates were asked to submit a video of themselves dancing, and from there, a compressed batch were brought to audition until they broke it down to 7 people.

Me: “So, how long did you spend preparing?”

Gabe: “Well, it was a dance video contest to see who would be picked. Once I found out about it, I made the video the next time I had the chance, not really much preparation needed because I dance freestyle. From there contestants get picked to go to live auditions, which I did. Again, no preparation needed because they gave us dance exercises and routines to show them. But once picked for the commercial, that’s when the real preparation came in. We were all in Toronto for about 5-6 days in total. And every day, we had to meet with the choreographers and the director for a minimum of three hours to work on the routine and the “traffic”, which is where we have to be and move to at a certain time. After the traffic was set in the first day, we started working on the actual dance moves we would do. But after the second day, so many things had to change for multiple reasons. So we had to stay for 4 hours most times to get everything ready. The actual day of the shoot took almost 12 hours. Even then, there were a lot of small things that changed at the last second. So I never really prepared for the contest, and making the spot. But for the commercial itself, there was a LOT of preparation, and hard work that had to be done.”

The choreographer behind the dance was Luther Brown of “So You Think You Can Dance Canada”, whom was also a McDonalds employee back then.

This was the second commercial to be promoting the McBistro sandwich, the first one involving people singing and beat boxing while cooking. McDonalds decided to stick to the musical theme, seeing as it was popular the first time and how big an impact music and dance have on our society today.

Gabe has truly proven to be amazing from many aspects, and is considered very talented. I can see what’s next: Gabriel Darku, the fastest to reach the top of Mt. Everest!

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