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June 22, 2024

S.L.A.M. stuns audience with polished hip-hop moves

By NATALIE BERKMAN | April 30, 2009

To kick off Spring Fair, S.L.A.M. showcased its hip-hop and step dancing for a crowd of excited fans at Shriver on Friday night. S.L.A.M. (or Stop Look At Me!) is the only hip-hop dance and step team on campus. For about one hour, this large group of talented students danced to popular songs with synchronized choreography and had fun doing it.

Living up to their name, S.L.A.M. made everyone stop and look at them as they performed energetic and difficult-looking dances with practiced precision. It was obvious that the many members of the various dance groups represented had rehearsed patiently for some time.

It began with a group of students wearing baseball caps covering their faces and posing onstage. With sudden and synchronized motions, they got into formation and began to dance.

The ensemble dances throughout the entire performance were all very impressive and enjoyable. Their choreography matched the music in very interesting ways. Group dances usually employed some humor ??- sometimes sexual - and the smaller dances were very passionate. The moves were choreographed to match the beat. Every pulse had a corresponding action, every pointed word had action, every pointed word had a motion that imitated it, and the dances as a whole mirrored the songs to which they were dancing.

The dancers themselves were just as enjoyable to watch as the dances they were doing - they each performed, in a way, to match the varying styles of the music. While there were many different levels of dancing, they were grouped well, and there did not appear to be any weaker dancers detracting from the dances as a whole.

The group is co-ed and no prior dance experience is needed to join. However, the two hours of rehearsing per week certainly have helped every member hold his or her own during the events at which S.L.A.M. performs every school year. Judging from the reception of the performance on Friday night, these practices have been able to yield exciting routines and energetic dancers.

When large groups performed, the dances were impressive and enjoyable, but the smaller numbers were the most incredible parts of the performance. There was a tango number, where four couples danced. The choreography of this and other small group dances was fascinating as they combined individual talent with some group work as well. One of the tango couples danced last Thursday outside the Mattin Center during the culture fair. The routine was well received there as well, but on Friday night it was even more impressive with three other couples dancing alongside them.

There were some dances that began with four guys doing impressive, athletic dancing. These moves continued to shock the audience. Finally, a group of girls came on the stage as well. The two groups would always interact well and in different ways. These moments - sort of choreographed battles of the sexes - were humorous and enjoyable. Every move that showcased a certain athletic finesse was entertaining; one of the four guys even jumped over another person while he was standing up. This "intense leap frog" and the other dancing was just a precursor to the final group, however.

By the final few numbers, the Hopkins Break Dancers had stolen the show. With their unbelievable maneuvers and unique connection with the audience, they generated the most applause out of any of the other dancers. Their scene was choreographed with three guys who held umbrellas and another three break dancers sans props. When each of the break dancers took the stage by himself, the audience erupted. Watching them balance upside down on one hand and spin around, seeing how they could move their feet so quickly and witnessing all the rest of their physically demanding performance was incredible to watch. Their number even ended with a choreographed fight in slow motion.

The S.L.A.M. showcase was a fun way to kick off Spring Fair (after the fireworks). The audience had fun, the dancers had fun, and it was definitely a successful performance. Their attempt at an encore, however, was a little stalled. As the audience began to get up and leave, the curtain opened once more, revealing a group of dancers who began to dance again. Some audience members left, while others seemed to consider sticking around but decided against it. Out of those who chose to stay, a few were called up to dance as well. As students at Hopkins prepared for the end of the semester, S.L.A.M. provided a nice forum to acknowledge that it is always possible to dance the stress away.

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