The Annual Dance Off Competition captivated the campus. It has become part of our school tradition to attend one of the biggest student-run events of the spring semester. Last Saturday, April 22, the Gallo Recreational Center hosted theSixthAnnual Dance Off with three competing dance crews. Compared to earlier years, this time we had limited attendance due to fire code considerations.
All the bleachers were filled and many students were seated in the middle of the basketball courts. Even with the overcrowded gym, all attendees enjoyed the performances with the help of the Campus Activities Board who monitored participants throughout the event.
I.N.T.R.O., or Inspiring Notions Through Range of Movement, came in first place. I.N.T.RO was the 2007, 2009, and 2010 champions. Members of the crew brought presence, dance skills and originality. In second place came in Dance Coalition, who performed for the third time. This team brought a fresh and innovative style with advanced skills. The 2008 and 2011 Dance Off champions, Hip Hop Movement, sought to keep the title, but came in third place. HHM brought back their synchronized choreographies and strong energy to the stage.
Ike Ollawa and Jonie Suzuki introduced each of the teams in all the rounds. While each of the teams performed, the vibe of the room accelerated and students were shouting, dancing, and cheering. Students enthusiastically waved posters to support their favorite dancers.
“Everyone that went out and danced was first off, a fantastic dancer. Yet they all showed school spirit and passion for dancing,” said the Bobcat mascot.
Popular songs like “Cinema” by DJ Benni Benassi were part of the performances. After each round, a panel of judges comprised of leaders on campus provided feedback on the choreographies, synchronization, and outfits. Most of the comments were positive, and the judges applauded the performances.
I.N.T.R.O and Dance Coalition competed for the title in the final battle. Dance Coalition let the crowd see their gymnastic skills, and Jamal Saboonchi demonstrated unique talent with his brake dancing moves along with other I.N.T.R.O members. After the final battle, I.N.T.R.O was announced the winner for the fourth time.
Senior Michael Hayashi, who was I.N.T.R.O’s captain for years, enjoyed his last competition at UC Merced. Hayashi advises aspiring students to not be afraid or shy to dance and to demonstrate their unique talents. After many hours of rehearsing, the three crews brought a fun and skilled performance to the UCM community.