Stylez Dance Group ends 4-year competition hiatus

Stylez Dance Group, a student hip-hop dance organization, will participate for the first time in four years in the Dance Stomp Shake competition in Springfield, Ohio on February 27. Credit: Courtesy of Maddie Rogers

Coming off of a four-year competitive hiatus, the student hip-hop dance organization Stylez Dance Group prepares to compete again.

Stylez Dance Group will visit the University of Wittenberg on Sunday to Dance, Stomp, Shakea contest that celebrates the culture of hip-hop, said Maddie Rogers, a third-year arts management and vice president of the club.

Although the band hasn’t competed in four years due to personal conflicts and the pandemic, Rogers said members of the organization have continued to perform at events such as BuckeyeThon 2021 and showcases hosted by Dance Connection.

“We kind of had fun with it. [BuckeyeThon] because we knew it was just a performance. And of course we wanted to do our best, but I think we focused more on the energy we put into it,” Rogers said. “For this competition, we want that energy, but it’s also, like, the choreography has to be right, the positions have to be right – that’s what we’re working on today – the transitions, everything has to be perfect. ”

Preparing for a perfect, competition-worthy routine starts with blending about five songs into one cohesive track, Rogers said. However, the preparation is more involved than the choreography and a handful of songs, and Rogers said they also have to consider behind-the-scenes processes, such as ordering costumes, filling out forms and collecting donations.

As this is the first competition that all team members will participate in as a member of Stylez, Leah DeVito, a second-year Englishman and member of the group, said the members do not know to what extent they would rank. However, they plan to do their best.

“I expect everyone to be really professional and kind of a great role model for those of us who don’t have competitive dance experience, like me,” DeVito said. “I’m looking forward to this different kind of stage so our team can have a good time and hopefully win.”

DeVito said competitions and performances differ in the audience they attract. Performances are specifically designed for audience members to appreciate and cheer on the dancers, but that’s not necessarily the case during competitions, she said.

“There’s a definitely different feeling from the audience’s perspective. Like, they’re just there to cheer us on. They are happy that we created this product for them,” DeVito said. “Whereas for the competition, we’re just cleaning up and making sure that our product is fundamentally perfect to go against our competition. And not everyone in the audience is necessarily there to support all the teams.

DeVito said that while the instructions for the band after the competition aren’t set in stone, the members plan to have fun regardless.

“This competition could honestly be the last big event we’re working toward,” DeVito said. “And then after that, we could just prepare for next year.”