Vermont Club Sports Blog

October 28, 2009

Step, two, three, four

Filed under: Uncategorized — leonuvm @ 7:11 pm

Amongst our many clubs are a slew of dance groups.  One area that our Club Sports program is particularly proud of is our variety of options and our dance crews are a primary example of that.  We currently have 5 recognized dance groups with a 6th currently seeking formal recognition from the Student Government.

The groups in no particular order are:  Salsa and Swing Society, UVM Dance Team, Catamount Dance Crew, Orchesis Dance Company, and Urban Flava (to be talked about later), and the prospective organization is the Celtic Cats and Irish dance group.

Being a nerdy history major what fascinates me most is the origin of these groups and their disciplines.  Salsa, has spanish roots and another portion of the club focuses on ballroom dancing, which has its roots traced as far back as 16th Century France.  the UVM Dance team is a more modern creation that combines elements of cheerleading often seen at Athletic events like NFL and NBA games.  The Catamount Dance Crew incorporates some of the entertainment aspects of the previous group but really strives to infuse elements of Hip-Hop and Jazz dance and emulates the styles of the show, “America’s Best Dance Crew”.  Orchesis Dance Company spawned from an academically sponsored dance program that once existed on campus and while there style would likely be described as modern, much of their membership has significant ballet backgrounds.  Celtic Cats, likely to be an addition to the club sports world in the not so distant future, follows the discipline its name suggests, Irish.

And now to the group that I visited last night, URban Flava Step Team.  To learn more about this discipline I went straight to the most reliable (and by reliable I mean easy) source, Wikipedia (seriously, what did people do before it).  Here is what I found:

“Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant’s entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Though stepping may be performed by an individual, it is generally performed by groups of three or more, often in arrangements that resemble military formations.

Stepping may also draw from elements of gymnastics, tap dance, march, or African and Caribbean dance, or include semi-dangerous stunts as a part of individual routines. Some forms of stepping include the use of props, such as canes, rhythm sticks and/or fire and blindfolds.”  In the US step dancing has much of its roots in the African-American community.

The Step Team was really cool to watch as they required little music for their rehearsal, although some was incorporated and they stepped, stomped, and clapped the beats and steps (pun intended) in unison.  I had the opportunity to learn a couple steps (pun again intended) and it went step right, clap the right hip, clap the left hip, step left, repeat!  It was hard but I got the hang of it!  I got great video of the rehearsal and have some of me practicing my moves but an having technical difficulties so those come soon!  In the meantime here is a much more theatrical video of stepping!

Check back later for the ladies on our Urban Flava Step Team’s stepping and my own feeble attempt.  In the meantime, stay classy San Diego.


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