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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Western dance club brings hip-hop groups to campus

By Emily Jackson

Ten hip-hop groups from around the Pacific Northwest converged on Saturday, May 19 for SINI-HHA’s fifth annual showcase at the Performing Arts Center. The showcase was called PRIME, according to the SINI-HHA Facebook page.

In addition to several dances by SINI-HHA, performers included the Western Washington University Hip Hop Dance Team, UW Hip Hop Student Association, Studio 3, Harper&I Dance Center and many other solo and group acts.

SINI-HHA dancers in the HIGH 1NTENSITY subdivision enjoy a groove at the PRIME Showcase on May 19. // Photo by Emily Jackson

SINI-HHA is a hip-hop dance club that came from two other dance clubs, Sini-GANG and WWU Hip-Hop Association, club president Alex Diep said. This is Diep’s fourth year with the club, he said.

The club has elements of a competitive team and an open group, club member Maddy Wade said. For this reason, she said she prefers to call SINI-HHA a community.

SINI-HHA dancers perform their final number in the showcase, FINNA-HHA. 10 hip-hop groups performed in the showcase along with soloists and small groups on May 19. // Photo by Emily Jackson

“In some aspects, it is more team-like, because we do hold regular practices,” Wade said. “But in other ways, it’s inclusive.”

Wade said the club allows all hip-hop dancers to come share their choreography for part of the year. For that part of the year, the club isn’t based on memberships, she said. There are no auditions either, Diep said.

SINI-HHA Dancers strike a pose to end the opening dance of their PRIME Showcase Saturday, May 19.// Photo by Emily Jackson

Still, Diep said, there is a sense of team in SINI-HHA. The club expects a solid level of commitment from dancers who want to participate in the annual showcase, he said. The dancers started choreography for the showcase in winter quarter, he said. They’ve been cleaning and refining each piece all spring.

SINI-HHA dancer Jeremy Galvez said he was most looking forward to New Gen, the dance created and performed by first-year dancers. For some of these dancers, it would be their first time onstage, he said.

Galvez choreographed for several numbers in the showcase, which included two dances by students from Harper&I Dance Center in Bellingham. The students he worked with were 12 to 19 years old, he said.

“It’s a good thing to work with people in the community,” Galvez said “Having different types of leadership within the club and the studio gives a different perspective.”

Studio 3 dancers perform a piece titled Intentions as part of the PRIME Showcase on May 19.// Photo by Emily Jackson

This perspective is why Galvez promotes community leadership within his club, he said.

Diep said he would most enjoy being onstage and hearing the audience show support.

“That’s literally all you hear when you’re onstage,” he said. “You’re just hearing people scream and yell. It really boosts your motivation and gives you that energy to perform,” he said.

Diep wanted to join a hip-hop team all through high school, he said, but never got the chance. Before he came to Western, he searched for hip-hop groups nearby. He visited the two original clubs at the info fair, got connected and stayed with them as they merged into SINI-HHA, he said.

Jeremy Galvez of SINI-HHA dances with students from Harper&I Dance Center in the PRIME Showcase May 19. // Photo by Emily Jackson

The purpose of SINI-HHA is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for dancers of all levels, according to the club’s Facebook page. The club also seeks to expand the dance community at Western and to promote self-growth.

Diep said SINI-HHA practices are every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the lounge underneath the Fairhaven Commons. Open session runs from 6 to 7 p.m. for people who want to practice freestyle, breakdancing or choreography, he said. The choreography classes run from 7 to 9 p.m.



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