VIBE Dance Competition at UC Irvine Last Night

San Mateo's Academy of Villains perform at VIBE 17 at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center.
San Mateo's Academy of Villains perform at VIBE 17 at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center.
Mary Pastrana/OC Weekly
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

,

Titanic

,

Scream

and

300

(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.
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."  

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