Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray knows whether or not he'll like a song within the first 15 seconds.
It's not that he only likes certain types of music—the list of his favorite artists ranges from Evanescence to Eminem to gospel singer Tasha Cobbs—but that he's listening for a melodic line that will immediately draw him in.
And when a song does strike him, it's a powerful connection—one that he says can bring new movement out of his body or help him discover a new feeling.
That's important, considering Gray has been inventing new movement—specifically, an entire street style called Flexn—for his entire career. Now, he's on the first-ever nationwide Flexn dance tour with his company, The D.R.E.A.M. Ring, bringing a new production called Flex Ave as well as battles and master classes around the country.
Gray made us a playlist of the songs that make him want to dance, and explained the complicated relationship that Flexn has to music:
On his many music moods:
"Some music I have for just cleaning the house, just feeling really good. Then you have the music when you want to relax and that's my R&B. Sometimes I'm in my reggaeton mode and I just feel like maybe I can talk in Spanish."
Why FDM and Flexn are inextricable:
"FDM [flex dance music] has a lot of history behind it. When the producers create FDM music, it's either battle time or performance time. It depends on the action of the music, it always sends me there.
"The battling music is more aggressive, and it has sound effects. It has an 'I'm coming to get you' feeling. The performance is more subtle and theatrical."
How he finds new music:
"I like to look at hotnewhiphop.com. When I travel, I explore music. I speak to the locals of different countries—I love to ask people what they listen to. I like Arabian music, Indian music."
On Flexn's relationship to music:
"In my form of dance, vocabulary is very prominent in the body. If it's a very lyrical song we can really embody the lyrics. But then sometimes the body will say the feeling of the song without it being verbatim in the music."
On his mother's favorite song:
"A lot of my memories are the things my mother used to play. Al Green, Smokey Robinson, Tasha Cobb. She loved to play 'Cruisin'' by D'Angelo before she passed. I'm attached to that song because of how much she loved it and what it meant to her. It was just about being together."