Things you didn't know about Gabe De Guzman

Disney's Mickey Mouse Club is one of the most enduring showcases for teen talent in American pop culture, highlighting some of the world's most skilled up-and-coming performers for more than 60 years. Its newest iteration includes Gabe De Guzman, a dancer and choreographer born in 2001 who's been steadily making a name for himself since his pre-teens. As awe-inspiring as he is "aw, shucks" humble, this young performer has been lighting up the internet with his diverse dance routines for years, making his way to the spotlight one step at a time. So who is this new player on the entertainment scene? Read on to catch up on all the things you didn't know about Gabe De Guzman.

Dancing king

While Gabe is a multi-talented entertainer with a charming, dynamic presence, his real gift is clearly dancing—and he's got the gold to prove it. He got into the active art form at the age of five, and has since shaped his whole life around becoming the best dancer he can be.

His energetic and flexible style, which he describes as "really full out," is full of high-flying flips and tumbles, including a backflip and split which has been described as his signature move. He's been taking his career seriously more or less from the beginning, feeling since his first class that he was born to dance—and his accomplishments reflect his dedication. He began working his way into the spotlight in 2011, securing his first major gig performing alongside Bruno Mars and winning a solo dance championship while competing at the national level.

Gabe started his YouTube channel in December 2011, and continues to use it as a platform to promote his performances, whether it's footage from an amateur competition or a self-produced dance video. By the time he joined Club Mickey Mouse, he was an award-winning competitive dancer many times over, having received a number of dance scholarships from prestigious training workshops, conventions and events such as Camp Pulse, Jump, Nuvo, Co Dance, Monsters of Hip Hop and The Dance Awards

Music videos

Gabe's impressive résumé off-camera made it relatively easy for him to start transitioning from the stage to the screen, and he started that journey with music videos. The first he performed in as a dancer was "Lolly" by Maejor Ali, released in 2013, which featured Justin Bieber and Juicy J. There, he made enough of an impression on the Biebs that he was not only invited to dance with him live at a concert, he also got the coveted Twitter followback. Shortly after, Gabe appeared in the video for "Dirty Vibe" by Skrillex, featuring Diplo, CL, and G-Dragon, and in 2015, he was part of the ensemble in a video for a remixed version of "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Not only were all three songs high profile, they were also all different enough to demonstrate to a wide audience that Gabe's not just a good dancer, but a versatile one as well.

Commercial spots

After dancing put him on the map, Gabe started expanding his portfolio, building out his reel with a number of national commercials—some of which he doesn't dance in at all. He's appeared as an excited kid in a spot for a Power Rangers Super Samurai tie-in toy, as well as commercials for Hot Wheels, Old Navy, the Microsoft Surface, and of course, Disney. Now that he's a part of Club Mickey Mouse, he's basically a brand ambassador, and a lot of his life is kind of a commercial—so it's a good thing he's had plenty of practice.

In the background

As a dancer, Gabe has brushed shoulders with some of the biggest names in entertainment, serving as a backup performer on some seriously high-profile stages. The most widely seen performance he's been involved with was the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIX, where he shared the stage with Missy Elliott and Katy Perry in a spectacle that broke records for viewership. Professional that he is, you probably didn't notice him at the time; unlike Left Shark, Gabe is more than capable of nailing his choreography. After the performance, which took place on the eve of his 15th birthday, Gabe said the experience was "overwhelming," which sounds about right.

"It was unreal to perform in front of such a big audience," Gabe recalled once it was all over. "We danced our hearts out and made history."

Naturally, it takes a lot of work to get to a stage like that, and Gabe earned his way up to it. Prior to his big Super Bowl moment, he danced with Will Smith at the Kids Choice Awards in 2012, with Ariana Grande at the live A Snow White Christmas show in 2012, and—in one of his first big breaks—performed at the Macy's Passport Glamorama with Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo, and Far East Movement in 2011.

TV appearances

The Super Bowl isn't the only time Gabe's been on TV. He's also flashed his smile and strutted his stuff on a number of dance competitions, reality programs, and televised awards shows, appearing on the 2012 finale of The X Factor with Carly Rose Sonenclar, in the 2015 season of Dance Moms, the ninth season of America's Got Talent, and the third season of Shake It Up. He also performed with a group at the Radio Disney Music Awards from 2015 to 2017.

Along with frequent collaborator Kaycee Rice, Gabe has also been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, charming his way through an interview and performing on the show after both of them came out on top in a competitive dance challenge hosted on Ellentube.

"It's been a dream of mine to come here ever since I was five years old," Gabe said to Ellen after he and Kaycee made it out on stage to claim their prize. "Now that this moment's finally here, it's just so unbelievable." From the viewers' perspective, it's great for Gabe that he fulfilled a dream, but what's really unbelievable are his and Kaycee's dance moves—they make the most intense routine look as easy as a Sunday stroll.

Designing the dance

By now, Gabe has spent most of his life learning the art of dance under many teachers and coaches, so it's no surprise that he's also begun to develop his own professional skills in coaching and choreography. He's produced videos featuring a number of performers doing routines he choreographed himself, one of the more impressive being a December 2017 performance of Chris Brown's "Turn Up the Music" which he conceived of and designed as the opening number of a fundraising gala. He also shares small tutorials for individual moves on social media, breaking down the little things to make it easy for viewers at home to follow along.

While Gabe has gotten popular for his hip hop dance routines, he aspires to be more than a devotee of one school of dance. As he's grown as a dancer, so have his ambitions—but while Gabe is on a mission to master as many dance styles as possible, he still believes in ballet as the foundation of all dance.

While he may be chasing stardom in front of the camera for now, Gabe's long-term goals involve graduating from the Juilliard School and becoming a famous choreographer, able to teach his routines to not only aspiring amateurs, but also the most well-known acts in the world. For now, his advice for up-and-coming dancers is pretty simple, and applies in the same way to both boys and girls—do ballet, and eat healthy.

Gabe in the game

Before he even reached his teens, Gabe achieved a particular sort of immortality by being featured in two installments of the popular Just Dance series of video games. The first, Just Dance: Disney Party, was released for the Wii and Xbox 360 in 2012; the second, Just Dance Kids 2014, saw release on the Wii, Wii U and Xbox 360 the following year. 

Gabe's not in the games as a playable character; rather, like in real life, he's more of a coach. The motion-capture games feature onscreen dancers doing moves that players are supposed to do their best to copy—which isn't as hard as it sounds. Since the games are mainly for children, the routines are insanely simplistic compared to what Gabe usually does. Ever the performer, he never drops his game face—just because he could rock to a beat in his sleep doesn't mean the players can, after all.

Dynamic duo

Gabe has gotten lots of his viral attention thanks to the chemistry he shares with a friend—or as he calls her, his "partner in crime." Kaycee Rice, a fellow dancer, has performed with Gabe a number of times; since meeting in 2013 under the tutelage of Tricia Miranda, the two have done numerous performances together both competitively and also just for fun, like this video in which they hit the Quan with attitude and authority—not to mention symmetry.

Recordings of their collaborations have drawn millions of views, and it's no surprise why. You know how dizzying it is to talk to two people who can finish each other's sentences, like they're sharing the same brain? It's kind of like that. Their styles just complement each other.

Their viral popularity got them invited to America's Got Talent and Ellen, and their connection to Miranda got them to the Super Bowl. Luckily, their chemistry translates off-stage, too, so it's not like they're stuck getting on each other's nerves. The two apparently think rather highly of each other—Kaycee has said she thought Gabe was "crazy amazing" from the start, while Gabe has said her versatility and flexibility make her a great partner. "She's like Elastigirl from The Incredibles," he said. "She's that flexible."

The New Mouseketeers

Disney's Mickey Mouse Club has been around since 1955, but the institution hasn't been without its periods of hibernation. After the last version of the team ended in 1996, a new version of the program—now called Club Mickey Mouse—premiered in September 2017, with programming delivered via Instagram and Facebook. In the new format, the team comes together to produce an original music video every week, documenting the process with behind-the-scenes hangout and rehearsal footage in the leadup to the video's big premiere. Since joining the team, Gabe's been putting his dance talents to work at the same time as he hones new skills as a singer and actor in the productions.

It's been more than a few years since the last iteration of the Mickey Mouse Club introduced us to stars like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling, and it remains to be seen if it'll do the same for a new generation. For Gabe De Guzman, though, the outlook is encouraging. Gabe's long had the talent to make it big—now, with Club Mickey Mouse, he has the platform to make himself known.