Hip Hop Club and U-Break hosted their annual Goin’ for the Beats Freestyle Dance Competition on May 18 in Old Chapel. The event’s success stemmed from the behind-the-scenes efforts of Emily Lewis ’16, Giorgia Comeau ’16, David Thai ’17, Darlene Pedines ’18, Shinell Manwaring ’18, and Mayte Martinez ’18. Zibusiso Dhlamini ’16 DJ’ed, and Martinez and Brendan Coleman ’18 emceed.
Eight participants took to the dance floor in a one-on-one dance royale. There were four rounds. Each round’s winner was determined by crowd voting, majority being the winner. The top three dancers got their pick of $100 Amazon giftcard, a set of BEATS wireless/bluetooth headphones and a UE roll speaker.
Round One was an automatic elimination round that gave each dancer 30 seconds to dance to their own separate songs, selected by Dhalmini. The competition was tight to say the least, with every participant showing off their unique styles and abilities.
Raymond Farmer ’16 beat out Maha Mian ’19 in a close match; Maddison Stemple-Piatt used a hip hop style infused with a little modern and ballet dance to overcome Thai’s agile breakdancing; J’Kela Smith ’17 and Ayanah Dowdye ’18 ousted Chris Nwuso ’16 and Oumou Zakaria ’19 respectively in an impressive showdown.
Round Two was the semifinals. Each dancer had 30 seconds to dance to two of the same songs. Stemple-Piatt and Farmer squared off first. After a ferocious showcase of differing hip hop styles, Stemple-Piatt emerged victorious,
After an intense Round Two Union first “Twerk Team”, which was comprised of Sophia Powell ’16, Comeau, Lewis, Stemple-Piatt, Smith, Martinez, Dowdye and Coleman, performed. The team performed a routine that included impressive stunts that shot down the tasteless interpretations of twerking.
By the end of the intermission, the Third Place Round was ready to go. Farmer faced off against Smith, which ultimately ended with Smith pulling her acrobatic stunts and Farmer using his refined body isolations. After a divided crowd call, Farmer was awarded third place.
The Final Round saw Stemple-Piatt and Dowdye clash in a performance that highlighted both dancers’ evident talents. Dowdye relied on physical strength and balance while Stemple-Piatt used her experience in modern and ballet to her advantage. The battle was heated, pushing both dancers to their limits withlittle time they were allotted to showcase their talents. The crowd opinion was split, but ultimately Dowdye was the winner.
Union has a lot of talent, both hidden and not. The dance competition was a great means for letting students have fun, surprise their peers on what they can do on the dancefloor and maybe even inspire others to take up one of Union’s many great dance opportunities, whether in the form of clubs, classes, or practica. All are welcome, because dance knows no boundaries.