January 30, 2012 | 4:40pm
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR VIBE 17 SLIDESHOW BY MARY PASTRANA
VIBE 17 Dance Competition
Bren Events Center, UC Irvine
Jan. 29, 2012
There are two major consequences of attending the annual VIBE Dance Competition at UC Irvine. One, your ears will hurt from all the screaming and cheering ("Work it out, Jenn!" "Ohhhhhhh, shiiiiiit!"). And two, you'll probably go home and try to dance.
It's worth it, though. The hip-hop dance extravaganza that brought together 15 crews to battle it out on the Bren Events Center
stage was four hours (whew!) of booty-shaking, pelvis-thrusting, head-spinning fun. Hosted by UCI's Lamba Theta Delta
fraternity and emceed by funnydudes Lawrence Kao
and Kunal Dudheke
of Studio 64 Comedy
, the event was all about showcasing talent here and beyond (two groups flew in from Japan!), while throwing in some sweet surprises (SPOILER: a marriage proposal--squee!).
The night kicked off with a couple homegrown crews, PAC Modern
of Cal State Long Beach, which unleashed a strong routine that integrated both tribal and futuristic elements, and Team Millennia
of Cal State Fullerton, which did a revved-up version of the Broadway musical Rent
. Austin Fernandez
of Fullerton-based IV League
was mesmerizing as he danced atop platform with hair-whipping flair, while Barkada Modern
brought out cool tricks like bouncing splits (owww!). UCI's CADC
wowed with its wave kicks, while Kaba Modern
, who we profiled in a recent cover story
, performed a mashup of dance styles to remixed music from films such as Zoolander
(complete with bare chests and red capes for the guys).
Hailing from Japan, Kaori Alive performed a jaw-dropping and emotional interpretation of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that struck the country last year. In an opening scene, a cluster of dancers wearing red head-to-toe bodysuits body-rolled and moved in a way that resembled fire engulfing a victim.
Kinjaz, while not part of the competition, got huge laughs with its video-game-inspired ninja routine, probably one of the most inventive and well thought-out acts of the night. Later, in a special surprise second act by Surreal, a group of dancers in suits performed to Train's "Marry Me." At the end, a young woman was brought on stage as one performer got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. (She said yes! It was cute!)
Couples these days are so creative.
Mary Pastrana/OC Weekly
Bay Area crew Academy of Villains brought the crowd to its feet with its powerful performance featuring the dancers as mimes in white face paint and white gloves. Their bodies moved with astonishing precision as they popped and locked to cracking sounds. Super Galactic Beat Manipulators from San Diego were clean as they danced to favorites such as Blackstreet's "No Diggity," while Irvine-based Common Ground pulled out a theatrical performance based on the daily work grind.
Choreo Cookies, the winner of the past two VIBE competitions, danced with such precision, it looked like their limbs were floating as a single amoeba at times. I'm not sure if it had to do with the fact that they danced with red tape across their mouths, but I felt like I didn't take a breath throughout their entire six-minute performance. You really couldn't look away--it was that stunning.
At the end of the night, the winners were announced. Third place went to Kaori Live, and second went to Academy of Villains. Choreo Cookies was crowned the winner of the night, taking home $2,000 and major bragging rights. The event raised $2,000 for Alzheimers research.
Everyone went home a little dizzy, a little deaf, and totally VIBE-ing.
Critic's Bias: I'm a UCI anteater. Zot, zot, zot.
The Crowd: Lots of college-aged Asians in off the shoulder T-shirts, skinny jeans and asymmetrical haircuts.
Random Notebook Dump: "I feel like playing Dance Central."