So You Think You Can Dance? Illjaz and Burim Jusufi Can
Watching Illjaz and Burim breakdance is dazzling. Have you ever seen someone completely disregard the laws of physics? Their synchronized headspins last for what seem like an eternity and every second is more thrilling than the last. The energy they bring to their performances is palpable, exploding in perfect harmony for their 40 K audiences. They are the Jay brothers, two dancers who traveled far and wide to become some of the best breakdancers in the world.
Illjaz and Burim grew up in Switzerland, where their love for breaking began. They started training at a young age, spending upwards of 8 hours a day practicing outside of class.
“The feeling of making a movement perfect was so amazing. It was everything.”
The brothers eventually became huge fish in the small pond that was Switzerland. They left home and set out for Los Angeles, the beacon of breaking.
“In LA, artistically, the opportunities are huge. You have so many! It’s up to you then what you do with it.”
The Jay brothers never come to an audition unprepared. By perfecting every last detail from their physical appearance to technical moves, they ensure that they’ve done everything to control their own destiny.
“Whatever audition you go to, give it your best. That’s all you can do.”
Their strategy has paid off, big time. The Jay brothers have snatched huge gigs in the city of angels.
They toured with major stars like Rihanna and performed at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards with Nicki Minaj. They’ve been on broadway, in Cirque du Soleil, and even starred in Amazon Prime and Apple commercials. Most recently they were on the hit show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The brothers haven’t let success go their heads. At the end of the day, they say their biggest accomplishment isn’t performing for thousands of fans or being on television, but working with each other.
“For me personally, the highlight of my career is being able to perform with my brother.”
Their family and friends couldn’t be prouder of them, despite their initial reservations. A few years ago, Illjaz was the lead in the broadway show “Fame”, and his mother sat proudly in the audience with tears in her eyes.
Now that they are fulfilling their dreams, the Jay brothers have found a rewarding way to give back to the dance community. They teach lessons at conventions, and watch as young hopefuls start from the beginning just as they did many years ago.
“It’s fun to see the young people. After you teach them, they’re so inspired by you and your dancing. They’re so happy, you can see it in their eyes.”