In what was probably one of the most impressive dance-offs to occur on campus, Black Dance Repertoire (BDR) and The X’Fact’r Step Team faced off Saturday night in the Mandela Room for their show “X-Fact’r vs BDR: Bring It On.”
And while the “competition” was scripted and planned, you could definitely feel the heat between the two teams as they carried out the theme, putting on their version of the 2000 cheerleading movie “Bring It On.” Instead of cheerleading, however, each team employed their own form of dance.
The first team to perform was BDR, a dance troupe founded in 1985, which incorporates a diverse array of dance styles, including break-dancing, modern, jazz, African and even tap. Their “opponents,” X’Fact’r, brought a different style to the event in the form of step dancing, which features intricate hand claps and foot stomps to create both an aural and visual experience.
Yet it was through these differences in style that each group’s talents truly shined. Even from the beginning of the show, BDR brought energy to the room and X’Fact’r had people out of their seats with their intense and complex movements.
Even Quimbamba had a hand in the event, playing a third team.
“We ran it by them, they were good with it and magic happened,” said Harvey Jasmin, a member of BDR and a junior majoring in cinema.
In addition to each group practicing on their own, there was a lot of collaboration required between the two in order to pull off the event. The presidents of the respective organizations frequently met to flesh out the details of the performance.
“They met all the time, spoke on the phone, planned it together,” Jasmin said. “After the theme was set, it was more like, how do we convert this from just a regular dance show to a storyline?”
And that very storyline took the show from a regular performance to an experience. Dances and step performances were broken up with character interaction, pre-recorded dialogue, and even a romance like the one in the film.
Music played a big part in the event as well, featuring artists like Rihanna, Drake, Fifth Harmony, Busta Rhymes, Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj. So many different tracks were used throughout the night, it almost seemed to be as much a concert as it was dance show.
And when the plot wasn’t advancing, the fast-paced show even featured both single-group performances and collaboration pieces. This, of course, did not come without work.
“We met with them once or twice to learn their step and then we taught them ‘Crazy in Love,’” said Ashley Vlaun, a member of BDR and a senior majoring in biology. “I think it was maybe two days where we put it all together … The step that we did at the end, it was hard. The first day it was hard to get. But after you slept on it, it wasn’t that bad.”
One of the hallmarks of step dance is precision and X’Fact’r definitely brought a cohesive, impressive performance to the table, and they take that hallmark seriously.
“It was really a learning experience,” said a Courtney Edwards, a member of X’Fact’r and a junior majoring in mathematics. “… prepping for the show, working together as organizations, and just giving our all on the day of the show regardless of how stressed and tired we were.”
And despite the rivalry between the groups in the show, the “animosity” was “completely fake,” according to Massie Wilcox, a member of BDR and senior majoring in linguistics.
“We knew from the beginning we were going to make it a unity event,” Wilcox said. “We’ve been working on this pretty much since we got to school — it was a major production. We both have so many different people, but I’m glad it all came together.”