September 21, 2018 | ° F

Project D wins first ever Pride Dance Competition

Dance teams from across the mid-Atlantic region converged at the Nicholas Music Center on Douglass campus Saturday to compete in front of an audience of about 400 people in the first annual "Pride Dance Competition."

The event, co-hosted by Kappa Phi Lambda sorority and Pi Delta Psi fraternity, aimed to find the most versatile dance crew in the region.

Project D from Bergenfield, New Jersey won first place and displayed their pride as members rushed the stage in celebration.

The International Filipino Association's iTop dance team from New York University and SERCisCompany from the tri-state area placed second and third, respectively.

"It felt really great, kind of shocking," said Executive Director of Project D Bernie Armendi. "I jumped out of my seat before I took a double take. The kids worked hard. To all the dance groups, thank you for the support. This is actually for them because their inspiration inspires us."

All proceeds of "Pride Dance Competition" t-shirts sales went toward the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, which advocates social justice and human rights.

School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Natalie Khoo said the event was organized in hopes of showing what the East Coast has to offer in the hip-hop scene.

"We hope that this event will achieve awareness to the community about hip-hop dance and how it exists throughout the East Coast," said Khoo, a member of Kappa Phi Lambda.

She also emphasized the cultural awareness that both Kappa Phi Lambda and Pi Delta Psi promote.

In addition to the competition's winners, competitors at the event included the University of Maryland's Phunktions Hip Hop Dance Company, the Rutgers Association of Philippine Students Dance Troupe, BamBoom from Virginia Tech, and Hip Hop Theory Evolution from Bronx, New York.

There were also showcase performances by rapper M.L. a.k.a. My Life from Brooklyn, New York, FR3SH Dance Company and FR3SH Juniors based in central New Jersey.

"We realized that there are a lot of very talented dance crews on the East Coast, especially in this area, but there was no big competition at Rutgers," said Pi Delta Psi President and Rutgers College Senior Phil Huang. "We wanted to bring that dance crew subculture here and expose it to the student body."

Other team members expressed their gratitude for getting the chance to compete against other teams in the region.

"We're incredibly honored to be here," said Vogue Wilborn, a University of Maryland senior and member of Phunktions Hip Hop Dance Company. "It's a rare occasion that dance crews from across the East Coast would get together. They usually get together within their state, so it's very nice to be in a place where the community comes together from across the Northeast. We're really excited. Everyone has worked really hard."

Prior to the show, guests were treated to dinner and cultural performances at the Asian American Cultural Center on Livingston campus.

The Rutgers Korean Cultural Group filled the room with the thumping sounds of a rhythmic drumbeat, which traditionally celebrates a good harvest.

Members of Kappa Phi Lambda also performed a cultural fan dance.

In addition to attending the competition, all participants were required to create a Facebook group in support of their dance team. The group with the most members, RAPS Dance Troupe, received a $100 prize with a total of 988 supporters in their Facebook group.

John Pena

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