For six seasons, millions have tuned in to the popular MTV show “America’s Best Dance Crew” for a night of competitive popping, locking and dropping. Tonight, UCLA’s On Campus Housing Council will host a competition for residents to showcase their own dancing talents in the annual Hill’s Best Dance Crew event with judges from the reality show.
At 7:30 p.m. in the Northwest Campus Auditorium, LA Street Dance Creatures, Super Sproul Bros., WHAT WHAT Cr3w, SAMACA and White Lightning will come together to compete for the title. While the top three dance crews will receive cash prizes ““ $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third ““ for most of the crews, money is not the main motivation behind entering the competition.
Along with the competitors, Hill’s Best Dance Crew will also feature performances by student dance groups such as NSU Modern, Samahang Modern and Street Dance Collective. In addition to the competition, special guests will include the runners-up from season three of “America’s Best Dance Crew,” Beat Freaks. The same crew will assist with judging the competition and will also perform at the end of the night.
Other judges include Milo Levell, who has more than 25 years of international dance teaching experience; Karen Chuang, who currently dances for Willow Smith and just returned from the U.K. opening for Justin Bieber’s recent tour; and Alessandra Williams, who is a graduate student in culture and performance.
Allison Foronda, a first-year civil engineering student from the WHAT WHAT Cr3w, said that last year’s winning team, SAMACA, inspired the founding of her team. Foronda and her fellow dancers are on the Association of Chinese Americans’ modern dance group, ACA Hip-Hop, along with many members from SAMACA. Last year, SAMACA was a team almost entirely made up of first-years, and this year the WHAT WHAT Cr3w shares a similar story.
“We want to be able to show that we can still bring something to the table even though we are first-years. … It is just to show what we can do and that dance is what we like,” Foronda said.
Foronda said that battling alongside the same team that inspired her team to join the competition will give the WHAT WHAT Cr3w an extra push to dance their best.
“It makes us want to practice more and make more (choreography), so we don’t look like chumps,” Foronda said.
Rouel Soberano, a third-year computer science student, said that his team White Lightning will represent the UCLA community service organization Circle K.
“Our team is mainly inspired by the creative energy and enthusiasm of our club. We draw upon the spirit … our club has to offer and of Circle K as a whole,” Soberano said.
In its first time performing as a team, White Lightning will perform a set based on the film “(500) Days of Summer,” complete with various sound bites from the movie. Along with such song choices as “Ghosts N Stuff” by Deadmau5 and the Flux Pavilion remix of the song “Cracks,” Soberano said the dance crew wants to send a message of love through its dancing.
Super Sproul Bros., another crew’s name and dance theme, developed out of a shared affinity for the video game Super Smash Bros. The crew is entirely made up of Sproul staff, including resident assistants, student leaders and even the building’s resident director. Ashley Gomez, a third-year physiological science student and a Sproul RA, said her team plans to dress up as various characters from the video game, and their routine will include sound bites from the game.
“At the beginning of the year and throughout training, Super Smash Bros. is definitely something we all gravitated toward and bonded through,” Gomez said.
Eena Singh, a second-year anthropology student and communications director of OCHC, along with Anja Mikic, a second-year biology student and programmer of OCHC, said they share an excitement for this event and want to make it about the residents.
“We want to expose our residents to hip-hop dancing and dance as another form of expression,” Singh said. “I want (the dancers) to walk away with more pride in their team and I think just more confidence overall. And regardless if they showcase in the top three or not, just their willingness to do this in front of more than 300 people is amazing.”