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January 28, 2022

SLAM showcase stuns with hypnotic hip-hop performances

By MIN-SEO KIM | November 19, 2021

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COURTESY OF MIN-SEO KIM

Performers dance in pairs onstage at the 13th Annual Slam Showcase + Benefit Show: SLAMMIN’ INTO SPACE.

The SLAM Hip Hop Dance Group hosted the 13th Annual SLAM Showcase + Benefit: SLAMMIN’ INTO SPACE on Nov. 13. Ticket proceeds from the event went to the Young Audiences Arts for Learning, an arts education nonprofit. Around 300 people registered to attend the event on CampusGroups.

SLAM is the competitive hip-hop dance group at the University, and the event commenced with one of their routines. Individual dancers from the group demonstrated their prowess by performing challenging dance moves to an enraptured audience.

Zinda, the competitive coed Bollywood dance team, performed next, seamlessly incorporating elements from many different dance styles like Bharatanatyam, kuthu, bhangra, raas, Latin and hip-hop into a novel performance that connected the traditions of various cultures to modern styles.

The Breakers Crew followed suit, giving a performance heavily rooted in the styles of present-day breakdancing and street dancing. Moving swiftly and with the immense energy characteristic of their dance style, the Breakers Crew demonstrated that they had studied their source material well.

Fourth to perform was the Eclectics Dance Group, which that markets itself as a multi-style dance crew open to people of all experience levels. Differences in dance abilities did not show at all thanks to the intense training and planning that went into the group’s dance routine. 

Junior Grace Yu, one of the co-presidents of Eclectics, described the immense amount of effort that went into the show in an interview with The News-Letter. 

“All of our pieces are student-choreographed, student-taught and student-performed. Our choreographers [junior Jeffrey Ding, junior Elaine Nagahara, senior Amy Lin and sophomore Kristen Corlay] and co-choreographer chairs [junior Hannah Yamagata and Nagahara] did an incredible job teaching and making the piece look the absolute best it could,” she said.

People in the audience cheered the dancers on, screaming the names of their friends. A few even brought signs for the occasion. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, Lin, another co-president of Eclectics, explained that in-person events feel livelier than if they were online.

I felt so much happiness being able to watch everyone dance together again and to hear the cheers of the supportive audience,” she said. “Also, seeing the hard work of my fellow group members come to fruition on stage brings a huge sense of accomplishment.”

During a brief intermission period, members of SLAM gave a heartfelt farewell to their graduating seniors and wished them well on their future paths.

After that touching moment, Korean Pop Motion, the K-Pop cover dance group, brought audience members back to the dance show with their routine. Their high-energy and fast-paced yet carefully synchronized movements were a reminder of the choreography and planning that helped propel K-Pop onto the world stage. 

¡Baila!, the Latin dance team at Hopkins, took to the stage next. They slowed things down with their routine, mixing fast-paced hip hop with the slower pace of traditional Latin American dances, demonstrating that older forms of dance still hold their own in modern times.

Following ¡Baila! was the University of Maryland’s Determined Young New Artists Maintaining an Incredible Craft (DyNaMic). DyNaMic, like many other groups, incorporated a diverse array of dance styles into a production that felt innovative and interesting, particularly for someone like myself who isn’t familiar with modern dance.

The event concluded with another of SLAM’s rousing performances.

Lin described the special meaning dance has for her.

“I am able to really let go of all the stress and problems when I am dancing and enjoy the music. Especially as a college student, I feel like often we focus on our academics so it’s a good chance to get your mind off of school,” she said. “It has also allowed me to meet so many others who enjoy dancing as well. I think it is really a sense of community.”

Michelle Limpe is a member of the Eclectics Dance Group and a Managing Editor at The News-Letter. She did not contribute to the reporting, writing or editing of this piece. 

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