Bruce Lee Rising

March 6, 2013

You may remember Cole Horibe from the most recent season of So You Think You Can Dance. Often shirtless, he was the martial arts fusion dancer who stole our hearts in Mia Michaels’ “Gravity” duet with Lindsay Arnold. Horibe left the show after making it to the top six, though he performed on the show’s finale and on the national tour. 



Cole Horibe and Lindsay Arnold in “Gravity.” (Photo by Adam Rose, Courtesy FOX.)



This fall, the Honolulu native will be back on the mainland and in the limelight when he stars as legendary martial arts master Bruce Lee in a new Off Broadway play, Kung Fu. (Written by David Henry Hwang, Kung Fu will debut later this year at New York City’s Signature Theater.) We’ve always known Horibe was a great actor—remember the comedic “Teeth” hip-hop piece by Christopher Scott?—and this seems like a perfect role.



Horibe studied with Marcelo Pacleb in Hawaii. Pacleb also trained
SYTYCD star Mark Kanemura, who appeared on Dance Magazine’s March 2012 cover. Horibe says Kanemura partially inspired him to audition for SYTYCD—we’re glad he did!

Horibe and Arnold in “Teeth.”
(Photo by Adam Rose, Courtesy FOX)


If you’re not familiar with Bruce Lee’s work, consider renting the famous Enter the Dragon. A martial arts star of the 1970s who was lost before his time (he died at 32), Lee paved the way for future stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li. He’s credited with popularizing the practice of martial arts in the United States, and he helped break the erroneous Western stereotype of the scrawny and powerless Asian man. Lee was also known to have been a force in ballroom, winning the Crown Colony Cha Cha Championships in 1958. It’s no surprise; Lee’s grace, power and flexibility is so evocative of dance. Can’t wait to see his legacy through Horibe’s interpretation. 



Horibe and Arnold in a Paso Doble piece, “Unstoppable,” by Jason Gilkison. Note the Bruce Lee-like abs.
(Photo by Adam Rose, Courtesy FOX)


Photo at top by Mathieu Young, Courtesy FOX