Syracuse University's Dancers

Hip Hop Edition

By: Meagan Scott
During my adventure of looking for hip-hop dancers, I was able to stumble upon two different types of groups thanks to the help of some of my friends. One group is a structure dance team, while the other dance group is a somewhat disordered dance club. I decided to compare and contrast the two groups based upon the environment they dance in, members' backgrounds, interactions between members and how they ultimately dance during performance.
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Outlaws Dance Troupe is Syracuse University's newest hip hop dance group and they are someone to watch out for. The group started because the cofounders, Brandon and Jay, felt like Syracuse was missing a dance group that appreciated their dance skills. No one said it would be easy, but Outlaws was eventually born and is ready to take over the campus. Originally starting with six members, they were able to expand their group to sixteen members in the span of a year. The members practice in Archbold gym, where they can spend up to 14 hours a week practicing for showcases. The members come from all different backgrounds and they each bring something different to the table. If one observes them while dancing, one can notice that even though it's "hip hop" based, you can see different styles of dance influences in their routines. Check them out in one of their upcoming shows this month!
My Interview with Mike

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My Interview with Brandon

On March 1st, 2015, I was able to interview one of the newest members of the group, Mike, and asked him a couple questions about Outlaws. I wanted to see his perspective of the group because he is new to the dynamics of Outlaws. Mike is full of energy and makes sure that the group has the same energy when they dance. He is Mexican and feels like his background in dance helps him a lot when he performs. He wanted to join Outlaws because he was able to be himself and he wanted to be a part of something that is culturally diverse. Mike thinks that the different cultures bring something to the table and they are able to feed off of each other. One of the issues I ran into when I was interviewing Mike was that even though he was giving me great answers, I wonder if he was answering the way he was because he hasn’t been in the group for that long? I wonder if his opinions on the group would change if I ask him a year from now?

On March 3rd, 2015, I interviewed one of the co-founders of the group, Brandon “Ness”, with the help of my friend, who filmed the interview. Ness is Jewish and when he came to Syracuse he wanted to find a dance group that he felt like he could belong too. There is a stereotype that “white” people can’t dance and he felt like that hindered him in his dance journey. Ultimately, he used that negativity to prove people wrong. Ness and his roommate, Jay, came up with the idea to start their own dance group that fit the style that they have been searching for in the dance groups that are already on campus. He wanted a group that was culturally diverse, so they could add different elements to the group. He wants his dances to be lyrical and he wants the audience to be able to follow the story as the group performs. He did reveal that he does have problems with the group because of it’s hard to deal with different types of people. It is harder to manage the group because it is new and they are still trying to mesh everybody’s dance styles. A lot of the times different dances have different people performing because each dance plays to someone’s strength. I also noticed that when there’s disorder during rehearsal, they are still able to put on exceptional performances. I still wonder if Ness and the other interviewees were only telling me things that I want to hear? I was able to get information off-camera from Ness because we talked about his dance group a couple times in class. People will act completely different in front of a camera. I also wondered how Ness is able to manage 15 other people in their dance group and is able to keep the group peaceful? Are they only peaceful right now because everything is still new? Are the members able to speak their minds?

Syracuse University's Break Dancing Club

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It's A "B-Boy" Comeback

For a while now, Syracuse University has been the home to the break dancing club. If you are a dancer that needs a home, this club would be a great starting ground. Anyone is welcomed to come and do their own thing. The club has an "old school" vibe and focuses a lot on styles that can be traced back to when break dancing first started. The club doesn't have any performances that they showcase, but they do help each other practice for upcoming battles. A battle is when two or more people battle it out to see who is the better dancer. The club only has a few members, but it's quality over quantity because a lot of the dancers have the endurance to do crazy stunts. If you want to relax from a stressful week, you should visit Archbold gym on Friday nights at 7pm.

I visited the Syracuse Break dance club on March 2nd, 2015 at the Archbold gym. I was able to film a video of my interview with Edam Alvarado and he was able to give me great answers about the club and about dancing. Edam comes from Puerto Rico and he is a senior at Syracuse University. He has been coming to the Archbold gym for three years now and he is sad that he is going to leave the club when he graduates in May. However, dancing is still something he will be apart of when he leaves because he is passionate about breakdancing. Edam was able to learn and grow as a dancer through the help of the members of breakdance club. All the members come from different backgrounds and are able to bring different elements to table that enhances the skills of the dancers in the club. From what Edam told me it seems like there is no conflict that occurs when everyone meets up on every Friday and everything is very easy going. I could tell that Edam is very artistic and it shows in his dancing. He is dancing because it lets him be himself and not for any other reason. I wonder if Edam feels the way he does because he has been in the club longer than most of the members?

On Tuesday, March 17th, I was able to interview my friend from Puerto Rico who is also a part of the break dancing club. This interview took place at my friend’s dorm because he wasn’t at the gym for me to interview. I noticed a complete difference from when I interview Edam compared to when I interview my friend Giovonni. It was harder for me to get answers out of him because he kept his answers short. Giovanni grew up dancing because dancing is important in his culture. His cousin exposed him to break dancing when he was a teenager. Giovanni is one of the newest members of the club; however, he said that he doesn’t go as often as he should because he doesn’t have time. He is mainly in the club, so he can gain enough experience to join a crew. He is truly an individual dancer because he tries to focus mainly on his dancing skills rather than the group. He doesn’t feel a real connection with the group except for with Edam, but that can be due to the fact that he doesn’t go as often. However, when he goes he is still open to people’s ideas about improvement. It is a lot harder for members to help others because everyone has their own styles. However, the members usually just imitate each other’s moves and add their own style to it.



I’ve come to the conclusion that people from different backgrounds are able to come together and dance to a style of music that they enjoy. However, since there are a lot of different cultures in these dance groups, there can be a lot of clashes in when trying to figure out choreography. Not everybody may get along with each other and it times it may seem difficult to deal with everybody, but at the end of the day the groups are able to put differences aside when they ultimately dance. The environment is different in the Outlaws than in the Break Dancing club. The break dancing club focuses a lot more on old school hip-hip and Outlaws tends to focus more on contemporary elements of hip hop. Outlaws seems more cohesive because of the structured environment that they practice and the Break Dancing Club is more individualized. It seems like more connections were made an environment that is structured and where you have to rely on others during a performance. Both groups are still able to express individualism in their own ways and allow people to stay to true to themselves. However, I also wonder if my thesis is proven because there could be a possibility that a lot of people may not celebrate their culture in school, which wouldn't effect their dancing? People say that they are proud of their backgrounds, but do they really bring that to the table when they dance because college is a place where people change? I also wonder that maybe the fact that the break dancing club isn't as close as the Outlaws is because they don't see each other as much or because when the members of the break dancing club goes to battles, they are performing a lone? I'm definitely going to revisit these two groups again, so I can gather more information and have them feel more comfortable around me as I observe them.