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October 07, 2010 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-07

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weekend
essentials
Oct. 7 to Oct. 10
ON STAGE
Paul Taylor, one of the
major players in the
creation of American
modern dance, is com-
ing to the Power Center
with his Paul Taylor
Dance Company. Taylor
is known in the dance
world for emotion,
beauty and complex
works. Tonight's pro-
gram is "Speaking in
Tongues" with music
by Michael Patton and
Bach's "Esplanade." His
company will perform
a different program on
Friday and Saturday,
starting each night at 8
p.m. Tickets from $18.
AT THE MIC
This Saturday at the
Kerrytown Concert
House, a husband-and-
wife duo will perform
cabaret songs as part
of the venue's new,
informal Kerrytown
Club series. Renowned
composer and pianist
William Bolcom and
his wife Joan Morris,
an adjunct curator at
the Clements Library,
will perform popular
songs from American
history. The show
begins at 7 p.m. and
student tickets are $10.

FILM
Time to cross another
movie off that list
- Akira Kurosawa's
"Seven Samurai" is
playing tomorrow at
7 p.m. in the Lorch
Hall auditorium as a
part of the Center for
Japanese Studies fall
film series "Re-Viewing
Kurosawa." Widely
regarded as one of the
best movies of all time,
the film follows a group
of samurai warriors
hired to protect a vil-
lage from bandits. Free.

MICHIGAN'S BREAKDANCERS HIT THE FLOOR
WITH HEADSPINS AND WINDMILLS
BY ANKUR SOHONI, DAILY ARTS WRITER

undreds of people
gathered in the
Anderson room
of the Michigan
Union last Sat-
urday, forming
a giant circle.
Some spectators
stood on chairs
around the edge of the huddle. Police officers
stood guard around the back. Others gathered
toward the middle, leaving a small section
of floor exposed like the center of a stadium.
In front of them were two teams of three on
opposite ends, each waiting for its turn to
throw down.
An MC took the mic and spurred on the
battle. One dancer after another, passing from
team to team - the b-boy competition had
begun.
This was the Diag Hip Hop Festival - relo-
cated to the Union due to rain. The event was
planned by a brand new group on campus
called Hip Hop Academy as a way of generat-
ing attention.
The festival was straight out of a dance
film, and overwhelmingly impressive for being
witnessed in reality. During the b-boy com-

petition finals, the dancers used their turns,
timing and teammates to perfection. Every
big move inspired a collective "Oh!" to sweep
over the crowd. While the competition was
isolated to six participants at a time, there's no
question the b-boy performances get everyone
involved, no matter the age and no matter the
experience. From the DJ to the dancers, from
the MC to the crowd - everybody elevates to
the same level.
In their Element
The words "b-boying" and "b-girling" con-
stitute another way - many would say the
proper way - of referring to the style known
as "breakdancing." While considered a street
dance style that values improvisation, it has
concrete elements and aclearstructure within
which performers work. And despite its ability
to impress the crowd, b-boying can be a fierce-
ly personal activity.
Such is the case with campus b-boying
group Element 1. A drastically less competi-
tive atmosphere characterizes the mood at
the Mason Hall posting wall every Monday
and Wednesday night, when the group holds
it meetings. Music blares through the building

- sometimes three or more songs in different
areas of the hall - and b-boys and b-girls prac-
tice their moves while passers-by look on.
There are no battles like those in the week-
end's Hip-Hop Festival, but rather a casual
air of self-discovery and collective positivity.
Some are there preparing a specific routine,
while others are purely practicing technique.
In these past two weeks, as Element 1 has been
bringing in new members, many of the partici-
pants are learning the art for the first time.
LSA freshman Eleni Zaras is one such new-
comer. In her second week with the group,
Element l's leaders could see Zaras beginning
to improve. But as many are with newendeav-
ors, she was nervous to start.
"I came last week," she said. "It was the first
time I came and I got there really early, which
was a little scary."
Zaras didn't have to worry for long, though,
as an older member quickly helped to get her
started on some basic moves.'
Element 1 has resources for people of any
level looking to b-boy. At the same time, it
has an elite Performance Group for which the
group holds tryouts every year. It dances at
student and charity events, and uses its oppor-
tunities to spread its art on campus. Every

year, Element 1 holds an event called Master
the Art, which draws crews to Ann Arbor from
around the country for a competition and cel-
ebration of multiple dance styles.
In developing dancers' performance talent,
Element 1 prides itself on self-improvement.
"B-boying is really individual," said LSA
junior and Element 1 President Jun Tai Kim.
"In my opinion, b-boying is all about creating
your own style. Everybody comes out and peo-
ple can give you feedback on your stuff."
Despite the perception of breakdancing as
a male-dominated art, there is a healthy bal-
ance between b-boys and b-girls at Element 1
practices.
Megan Kao, a sophomore in the School of
Engineering, is on the board of Element 1.
"I'm a b-girl," she said. "Element 1 has
inspired me to be a lot more creative ... and a
lot more self-confident. You know, if you're not
confident in b-boying, then it's not going to
look good."
Element 1 is an unconventional dance
group, but its structure feeds directly off the
personal nature of the art form. Unlike some
hip-hop campus dance groups, which feature
choreography and group dances, Element 1
See B-BOY, Page 3B
PHOTOS BY: SAM WOLSON
DESIGN BY: MARISSA MCCLAIN

CONCERT
If you've got a han-
kering for crunchy
guitar riffs and back-
yard porch vibes,
then head over to the
Ark tonight to see
Americana/alt-coun-
try band The Steel
Wheels. Complete
with bluegrass vibes
and a cool southern
twang, this Virginia
quartet is well on its
way to becoming the
next Avett Brothers.
Be the first of your
friends to jump on
the (country) band-
wagon. Doors open
at 7:30. $12.50.

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