Under the dim lights of the Sunset Village parking lot in the days preceding Spring Sing, the dancers of the Association of Chinese Americans Hip Hop repeat their sets relentlessly.
“The longest we’ve gone was this year from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” said fourth-year music performance student Tung Vu. “Our motto is we don’t leave until we’re done.”
ACA Hip Hop, one of the main competitive hip-hop teams at UCLA, performs in several dance competitions annually aside from Spring Sing, including “Prelude SoCal/The Bridge Dance Competition” and “Battle Royale.” Additionally, the group always performs in the Chinese American Culture Night that its parent organization, ACA, coordinates.
Its performance at Spring Sing will consist of four pieces originally choreographed by the group. Three were independently used in various competitions throughout the year and one new piece was choreographed specifically for Spring Sing.
”We wanted to give something new, so we added another song that we feel like has more hype and (is) more for the general audience, because all of our (other) songs aren’t too familiar,” Vu said of the new piece.
The in-house choreography for the group’s sets was a defining factor for the team throughout the year that allowed them to develop a more personal vibe, despite the intensive demands of choreographing, said fourth-year English student and creative assistant Christina Kim.
Regardless of efficiency, casting and cleaning new pieces usually takes several days, with separate practices dedicated to learning the dance, casting for it and blocking positions. However, for Spring Sing, the team revitalized their efforts.
“We learned and casted it in the same day. We blocked it that next practice,” said Kim. “We were making a set on steroids.”
For first-year psychobiology student and new member Dom Castro, the new piece was a creatively stimulating process.
“I think it was really fun because it brought out new choreographers from within our dance team, and they were able to define their dance background through their choreography,” Castro said. “Now they’ll get to show it to the student body.”
The audience can look forward to a high energy performance, Vu said.
“We always want to project to an audience, to dance really big, so that audience members from even the far back corners can see us,” Vu said.
For the team, the chance to perform alongside groups of varying talents is uncommon.
“Spring Sing is the only performance of the year where we get to expose ourselves to other organizations at the school,” Vu said. “I feel like there are two different communities on campus, and Spring Sing is something that allows us to get to know each other by performing in one building.”