Meet the breakdancing breakout of 'So You Think You Can Dance'
For Asaf Goren, the TV competition is only part of the picture for this rising star.
Of the many talented contestants who’ve auditioned for this "Stage vs. Street" season of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance," Asaf Goren stands out in the crowd for his gravity-defying moves, great looks and engaging personality.
Billing himself as the "Hebrew Breaker," the shirtless native of Israel wowed the judges with a flying 360 flip, impressed the audience with his six-pack abs, and charmed everyone with his disarming smile, earning a ticket to the Las Vegas callbacks, which air June 29 and July 6.
Goren hadn’t watched previous seasons of the show, but knew of it and thought that “it would be a great stage for me to show my different style.” Now 23, he learned to breakdance 11 years ago from kids he met where he took judo lessons. “They’d be breakdancing in the hallway. I didn’t connect with that. My heart was with breakdancing,” explains Goren, whose mother teaches classic ballet and contemporary dance.
He got so good at it that by the age of 15 he was traveling around the world, entering international break dancing competitions. Since 2010, he has performed in two dozen breakdance battles and won or placed second in most of them. “My dream was to represent my country, represent Israel in an artistic way as a break dancer,” Goren tells From The Grapevine. “In the beginning it was so hard. I was eating from tuna cans that I brought from home, sleeping in weird places,” he remembers. “But step by step, I built my name and got recognition.”
Not even injury has slowed him down. Goren has had four surgeries on his legs, having broken one limb doing a flip five years ago, and the other the following year. He moved to Los Angeles five months ago, alone. “It’s not easy to be a foreigner in a big city like L.A., by myself, so I depend on myself,” says the resourceful Goren, who pays the bills with modeling jobs, as he’d done in Israel. Signed with both the Wilhelmina and Bloc agencies, he did a recent Zappos.com campaign and represented MAC cosmetics in a promotional appearance – as a singer.
Goren, as it turns out, sings and writes music in the “global pop” genre.
“I write with the help of a friend,” says Goren. In everything he does, “I want to create something that people can enjoy, help people, inspire them and motivate them,” he says.
Goren feels a deep responsibility “to represent my family, my friends, my community,” and make a difference. “Maybe some kid will see me on TV and see that I come from a foreign country and hear my story and say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’ This is what motivates me.” Active on both Facebook and Instagram, he makes inspirational videos and says he often hears from people he has influenced to get in shape. (His personal regimen includes dance, pull-ups and ab workouts.)
While he misses his family in Israel, the country's beaches and flea markets, Goren reminds himself why he’s here and what he hopes to do. “I want to make my dreams come true,” he says. “I want to change the world, and I know with this opportunity that I have now I can touch so many people, so many hearts, and motivate people and inspire them.”
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