February 22, 2024 / By jacquelinedavis

Age: 10
Hometown: Montreal,Quebec
Instagram: @adeline.kerry 


Dance is a unique art form in that it holds centuries of history and expresses so much about the human condition, our various cultures, our range of emotions, without using spoken language. In a sense you could say dance is like skateboarding, a physical expression of the soul.

At only 10 years old Adeline Kerry Cruz, AKA ‘Princess INTIMIDATE,’ is internationally-known for the urban dance style of Krump. It helps to know more about what Krump is in order to truly appreciate how remarkable that is. An acronym for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mightly Praise, this athletic dance style originated in early-2000s South Central Los Angeles and is characterized by stomps, jabs, chest pops, jumps, and arm swings, set to its own distinct, fast-paced music.

Visually Krump is an emotionally-driven, aggressive style of dance, which suggests it might be performed by someone older, but Adeline’s expression in the short dance film that launched her career,‘Sit Still,’ which was made when she was only seven years old and after only a handful of online lessons as it was filmed during the pandemic, is one of someone beyond her years, an old soul. It’s been said old souls ‘dance to the rhythm of their own heart.’

Dance, along with the guidance of her mentor Kevin ‘Jr. Maddripp’ Gohou, and most notably as a soloist in ‘Silent Legacy’ directed and choreographed  by French choregrapher Maud Le Pladec, has given Adeline an international audience, but she is a fully-fledged artist whose desire to express herself extends beyond one discipline to include music, and skateboarding. Adeline has sung on stage with Montreal artist Brontae Hunter, competed at JACKALOPE Montreal , and is an ambassador for Skateboards for Hope.

JACKALOPE recently sat down over ZOOM with Adeline and her parents Francisco and Mandy Cruz, former circus performers – Francisco trained in Chinese acrobatics, and Mandy a contortionist – who met at the National Circus School in Montreal, to learn more about Adeline’s career in dance, and how their young family, which includes young sister Sia age six and whose main sport is gymnastics, navigates an extraordinary life.

Adeline, smart, sweet, and all smiles even laughed at some of my jokes as we chatted. I was instantly enchanted by the young dancer.

What made you decide you wanted to do Krump dance? When did you start dancing, and do you do other styles of dance? 
“My mom was pregnant with me and she went to a show at Urban Element Zone dance studio in Montreal. It wasn’t like a regular dance show where everyone sits quietly and then claps at the end, no one was in their seats, they were on the stage with the dancers. My mom loved it so much she said ‘when my daughter is old enough I’m going to put her in dance.’ When I was four years old she brought me to a dance class there and I loved in straight away. I also do hip hop, popping, and Chicago footwork.”

Francisco continued and said neither him or Mandy studied dance. Even though they grew up performing and using their bodies in the circus, this was a whole new world for them and their entire family that they’ve embraced. Mandy added that when they try the Krump moves themselves it “doesn’t look like it does when Adie dances.” (laughs).

“Even my grandma tried Krump,” Adeline continued. “She came with me and got put in a group in a cypher with all the teenagers and had to get up and dance in front of everyone. She had a really good time!”

What was the experience of making the film Sit Still life for you?
That was really fun, it changed my life, because it’s what brought me to Krump. It was the first time doing Krump in my life with Russell Ferguson. He taught me how, and I loved it!

Francisco and Mandy explained that before ‘Sit Still,’ Adeline had only done classes on ZOOM, and through that one short film everything else followed. They were asked to set up an Instagram page to promote the film, and dancer and choreographer Maud Le Pladec reached out via IG with the hopes of working with Adeline, a connection that would eventually lead to ‘Silent Legacy.’ Mandy commented that Le Pladec said she felt like she was ‘sending a message in a bottle.’ Someone else suggested to Francisco that he reach out to Jr. Maddripp and within four classes the French-born, Montreal-based artistic director, trained in Krump by one of it’s founders Ceasare LaRon Willis AKA Tight Eyez, wanted to be Adeline’s mentor.

Can you tell me what it’s like to dance Krump in a battle or a sypher? How do you get in ‘the zone?’
I never really feel stressed about a battle. What you learn in the week, and what you worked on you can show in a battle. To get in the zone, I think about the music and the energy of all the people. My Krump name is ‘Princess INTIMIDATE.’ It wasn’t a name I chose for myself, it’s name I was given. When I get on the stage I say ‘I’m Princess INTIMIDATE’ in my head and I got for it. I don’t care so much about winning. I care about making connections and new friends.”

Francisco and Mandy commented that Adeline makes friendships through dance all around the city as she gets older, and that’s what is most important to her. The family has met up with Krump communities from Calgary to Brussells, and points in between.

You are also very talented in music, you sing and play piano. What love came first for you, music, or dance?
My dad’s mom is a singer, and a violinist so my grandma taught me. There’s not one thing I like more than the other. I love it all.

Francisco grew up in California, where his mom is a choir director and during the pandemic Adeline was able to join her grandma’s choir on ZOOM. He grew up playing piano and they made sure there was a piano in the house for the girls. Adeline plays all the time and writes her own songs. Montreal musician Brontae Hunter reached out via IG inviting Adeline to dance at one of her shows. The two musicians got to talking, Adeline shared one of the songs she’d written with Hunter, and they performed it together on stage at a small venue in Montreal.

Telling me about your skateboarding. How long have you been skateboarding? Do you have skills as a dancer that you think help make you a good skater?
My dad has been a skateboarder for almost all his life. Right when I got home from the hospital when I was a week old or something like that he brought me to the skatepark, that’s the first place I went. I mostly skateboard with my dad. I think skateboarding helps me in dance. In dance you really need lots of balance, and it’s hard to find the right balance, and weight shift. I need the same skills for skateboarding. My idol in skateboarding is Annie Guglia, she taught me my first moves.

What do you love the most about Krump? Do you have any words of wisdom for kids your age who are interested in getting involved in this style of dance?
I really look up to my teacher Jr. Maddripp. He’s so cool and he’s really good at dancing. When I grow up I want to be like him.” (smiles) “I look up to Tight Eyez because he’s one of the originators of Krump and he taught Jr. Maddripp, my teacher. My advice to any kids who want to learn Krump is to have a good teacher, and just enjoy it!

Before switching gears to chat with Mandy and Francisco, I asked Adeline in there was anything else she wanted to tell me about Krump, after all in this story she is the teacher. She advised me to watch David LaChapelle’s film ‘Rize,’ a documentary about Krump which shows the history, and originators. I promised her it was next on my watch list.

Talking with Francisco and Mandy was a joy. We discovered many parallels with our lives as. I’m likewise a parent of two artistic girls, four years apart. We shared a lot of laughs and common experiences as we talked.

When did you first realise Adeline had a special gift for dance? How has your life changed as Adeline has become recognized in urban dance?

Mandy: “It’s more hard work.” (laughs) “Adeline has always been creative, she can tap into that genuine, honest emotion.

Francisco: “I did circus, my wife did circus. I’ve done the five hours a day, seven days a week. I get it. Adeline does three hours of dance a week at Urban Element Zone dance studio.

Mandy: “Everyday we have no plan, we’re at the skatepark almost everyday, or Adeline’s texted to join a session, it may be in parking garage, or outside in the street by the Olympic Stadium, so it may be ‘let’s go skate first, and we’ll dance after.

All of a sudden I am watching my daughter take lessons, and then all these adults would show up and they would session together. After awhile Jr. Maddripp invited us to stay for the session, and she jumped right in. I started to see that dance was it for Adeline, and Krump was something she was going to do regardless. She wanted to do it and I wasn’t going to be the one standing in her way.

Francisco: “It’s super important that they see us skateboarding or snowboarding alongside them, and they understand what it means to be a beginner in something. That it’s fun to be a beginner. It’s fun to fall, and learn.

Mandy: “When they find these things, you become part of the community. I’m friends with the kids, and the parents.”  “Jr. Maddripp is the ‘big homie’in the Krump family. He’s been out to Banff to my parents place.  Adeline travels with him. We go, or my parents go. They are recently retired and they’re living their best life.” “Adeline is booked into 2025 now for touring. The director told me she doesn’t want to be the reason Adeline might grow to hate dance so there is no pressure, she just wants to world to see her.”

Francisco: “Art really does transcend age. I can watch my daughter dance with a 50 year old and have a communication through dance, it has nothing to do with age.

Do you think as a performers yourselves who started at a young age that you’re better equipped to understand what Adeline is experiencing now in the dance world?

Francisco: “You understand more about what to do when you start getting messages and opportunities. What to say yes to, what to say no to. I started Chinese acrobatics with a very tradtional trainer. I couldn’t get enough of circus. I toured for seven years, I performed for a long time. I did so many events and contracts and I had to step away for awhile. What it came down to is I managed to understand for myself that what I wanted above anything was to be in the room. I like being in a room surrounded by artistic people, creating.

Mandy: “The touring was hard because we were often apart.” “Adeline is leaving on Tuesday for three weeks, she’s going with my dad. It’s much more fun this time around.

Francisco: “Mandy watched me start to resent circus and it was time to step away because I didn’t want to resent something I love.” “I love touring with my daughter, the show is always going to be part of our day, not all of our day. We changed what touring could be for her.

Mandy: “Touring with kids is crepes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She used all her per diem for shopping.” (laughs) “She toured Amsterdam and Italy in the summer, this time she’s going with my dad, in November Francisco will go with her. We get one on one time with Sia which is important the way Adeline’s life is. The hardest part is Adeline missing Sia.

Adeline added, “I FaceTime with Sia every day. One time we talked for an hour.

Do you think performing artists have more opportunities to succeed in Montreal than elsewhere in Canada, and in the world?
Francisco: “I was in San Francisco, but I wasn’t seeing full time circus artists around me. Two of the founders of 7 Fingers are from the Bay Area, they would come through and tell us about Montreal. Over the years we’ve thought about moving to Banff (where Mandy’s parents live), but the things the girls are into are here. The circus community is here, we support each other. I have never sent a resume and I am watching the same thing with Adeline in the dance world. I can’t say because I moved away from the States before I was hustling for work … it’s not a competition here, it’s a community. I want to be in these rooms watching these conversations happen. It’s a Montreal thing. We can’t leave now. Here I can walk down the street and see five different people from completely different communities and we all have something to say to one another.

Mandy: “For about ten years we said we’re passing through. We bought a house. One thing leads to the next. I don’t think we’re passing through anymore. It’s our home.”

Outside of dance and performance what other activities do you enjoy as a family?
Mandy: “We do everything together, even drop offs, we all jump in the car. We take Sia to gymnastics and Adeline is on the sidelines cheering. On Saturday Sia has dance, and then Adeline, we’ll go to the Jean Talon Market with Sia while Adeline is in class. We snowboard together. Our car is ready to go, we have the lawn chairs, the snacks, the skateboards, we’re ready for the day.

Francisco: “We all go together to my work (at 7 Fingers), or we’ll go to Mandy’s classroom and help her set up for the next day. Our activities are life itself.

Mandy: “We’re ready all the time. Bring warm clothes, bring a jacket in case we’re out at night! During COVID we couldn’t go to the park, so we went on adventures. We built a fort on Mont Royale, added to it, watched it go through all the seasons.

We talked about Adeline’s schooling, as many kids in her unique position are homeschooled. Francisco grew up being homeschooled, later graduating from Concordia, the first formal school he’d ever attended.

Francisco: “The way we were homeschooled was different. My mom felt education was focusing on something that you wanted to do. I could do and follow any instinct I had. Her theory was because we had so much experience focusing for long periods of time on what we were interested in, we could apply the same to our homeschool requirements.

Mandy: “Adeline loves school. She attends an alternative school where the teachers are not direct teaching all the time. When she goes on tour she has a list of things to she has to do, but we always make sure she does more than what’s required, and it helps that I’m a teacher myself. When she was performing in France she attended a school there, and all her classmates came to see the show. Her teachers here are so supportive. She’s doing almost three weeks here three weeks in Europe until June, with performances in Italy, Norway, Sweden, Bracelona, Germany and France.

Any wise words for parents who might find themselves in a similar situation with a child who is gifted and accomplished at a young age? 
Francisco: “Have fun with them. I enjoy Adeline’s company. We have fun, we hang out.

Mandy: “All the things she does are cool, and all the moments in between are special. Even just cuddling together as a family watching a movie on a Friday night after a long week.

Maybe the most surprising call Mandy and Francisco have received since their daughter’s meteoric rise in dance happened last summer, the Friday before JACKALOPE Montreal. Adeline was asked to dance in the video for Brittney Spears and Elton John’s duet of Hold Me Closer. She competed at Jackalope Saturday morning and they were on a plane to Mexico for filming by Satuday afternoon.

Adeline didn’t get to meet the pop superstars during filming, and was hesitant to tell her classmates in Montreal until the teacher shared the news, and she beamed with pride. She may be Krump Sensation, Princess INTIMIDATE on the international dance stage, but here she’s Adeline Kerry Cruz, a sweet ten year old girl who loves to dance.