At Grinnell, a number of clubs perform various dance styles, but IndepenDance is unique as the only hip-hop group on campus. This Friday, IndepenDance is presenting their Fall Showcase to show off their talent.
Fans of hip-hop dance at Grinnell should be familiar with IndepenDance. Members performed at the Drag Show and a number of other events this year.
The crew performing tonight consists of eleven people: Christian Snow ’13, Greg Armstrong ’14, Gabby Mitchell ’13, Seantasia Lee ’13, Samanea Karrfalt ’14, Yang West ’15, Luis Hernandez ’15, Jackie Brooks ’15, Nelson Ogbuagu ’16, Saw Min Maw ’16 and high school senior Quentin Sims.
The expressive culture of hip-hop has been brought to Grinnell in IndepenDance’s third showcase, “A Night of Hip Hop.” In addition to dancing they’ll be showcasing numerous other talents including spoken word poetry by Damon Williams ’14, a vocal performance courtesy of Imani Hinkson ’14, the hip-hop violin stylings of Gabe Kringlen ’13, and rap by Nick Hinojosa ’13.
Through this year’s showcase, the group is focusing on presenting a more cohesive theme.
“We have people from different dance backgrounds, but we wanted to make sure [our choreography] was mostly hip-hop. We have several [large] group pieces but we also have small group pieces for those of us with similar dance styles,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell has been a part of the group since its conception and believes that this showcase will go over exceptionally well, in spite of the fact that many of their members are abroad or have recently graduated.
“We’re smaller, which isn’t a bad thing. …We’re more compact and we look cleaner,” Mitchell said. “We miss our people who are abroad, but we work better this way. I feel like everyone’s more on the same page.”
The hip-hop showcase will certainly provide a reprieve from Grinnell’s intense academic environment.
“It’s an expression of different emotions or moods that a person is in,” Hernandez said. “It could just be a celebration of happiness or a depiction of love or how love should be.”
Hinkson has had the chance to perform at both of the previous showcases. For Hinkson, who is from the D.C. area, hip-hop has become very influential.
“I love to perform—any chance I get to perform is a happy moment for me. Sharing the genre with your peers is always a really great feeling. … There’s just something about music that brings people together,” Hinkson said. “It’s always a very special thing when you can share what you love with other people.”
Students came to IndepenDance with different amounts of experience with hip-hop.
“I feel like hip-hop is something that is specific to my culture and what I come from at home, and I feel like that’s the same for a lot of people,” Mitchell said. “I think that we bring something to the table that is not on campus elsewhere.”
For those unfamiliar with hip-hop dance, IndepenDance should be a useful introduction.
“Come with an open mind. It is a little different, but just have fun. If you want to get up and dance, then do that. We love that sort of thing, it’s awesome!” Mitchell said.
Even for students interested in hip-hop, IndepenDance will offer a more detailed perspective on an outstanding art form.
“I’m a fan of hip-hop…but I’m not familiar with the in’s and out’s of hip-hop culture so I guess it’s just nice to hear stuff that I haven’t heard before [and] to expand my horizons.” Kringlen said.
The show runs from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. tonight.
“Moral of the story,” as their Facebook event page reads, “Come to our show. There will be laughter, tears, sweat, ratchetness, and debauchery!!!!!”