Local dance group shares love of dance through hip-hop | Life & Arts



The Hip Hop Society Fall Squad during practice.

The refined techniques of Elise Andrade’s ballet class were just too structured for her.

She longed for a place away from mirrored walls and pointy slippers, a place where she could release all her emotions and focus on her true passion: hip-hop. The desire to create a space where she could explore outside of her mandatory dance schedule led her to start the local dance group, Hip Hop Society.

“Ballet was very frustrating for me,” said Andrade, a second-year dance student. “So I decided I wanted to do something that would make me less frustrated with ballet. I figured if I started this band [I] would have something else to focus on. It would give me a little more motivation.”

The Hip Hop Society officially formed in September 2021 and has since brought together a small group of girls who all share a desire to hone their dance skills and express their love for hip-hop.

Andrade decided to start the group after remembering the team atmosphere she once had while competing on a hip-hop dance team in high school. She also worked as a dance teacher, which broadened her perspective and helped her cultivate her growth as a dancer. Thanks to Hip Hop Society, Andrade has returned to her roots and created a safe space for girls to dance.

At first, the idea of ​​starting a dance group seemed like an impossible goal. While enrolled in ballet class, she noticed that there were no non-competitive hip-hop dance opportunities at Texas State that were geared towards helping dancers improve their technique. Andrade enjoyed the classes she was in, but missed hip-hop and wanted to create a group where the members could connect with each other.

“[Hip Hop Society is] like a house. Like, I don’t care if I have two girls on the team or 20,” Andrade said. “It’s like a connection between all of us who have the same interest and a love for something.”

Sophomore psychology student Gisella Zamora discovered Hip Hop Society through her mother who found the audition information on Facebook. Zamora started dancing when she was in fifth grade and competed in dance competitively on her high school’s dance team. Although she enjoys all types of dance, hip-hop is her favorite as individuals can show off their own personality and style without the competitive structures.

“I think Strutters or any collegiate team can be very intimidating and hard to get into,” Zamora said. “[Hip Hop Society] is fairer for us to come together to share a passion and a love that we have for [dance].”

As a freshman, Zamora did not live in on-campus dorms and missed foundational first-year experiences. She said joining the Hip Hop Society was one of her first chances to meet new people while in college.

Since joining, she has enjoyed witnessing and experiencing the improvement of herself and her teammates. Together, the team has cultivated a close bond for which they are grateful. Zamora looks forward to continuing to grow with her teammates this semester as they seek to compete in dance competitions.

“I feel like [I have made] friends that one i have something in common with, and two when we love to dance together and learn it, everyone takes things differently and grows differently. If I don’t get something and someone else does, they’ll help me,” Zamora said.

Alyssa Armstrong, a communications junior, discovered Andrade was starting Hip Hop Society after seeing her post on Snapchat. Armstrong was looking for a dance crew to join that wouldn’t take too long and was affordable. She said Hip Hop Society was the perfect match for her.

“I was looking for something in Texas State that was inexpensive and something that was hip-hop dance related, that was accessible to me,” Armstrong said. “I just wanted to be in a band where I could afford to dance and follow a passion of mine. It was also a really cool thing that it was a niche that’s not really in the state of Texas. .”

Although Armstrong has never danced on a team before, she has taken several dance classes since 2010 and has a deep love and passion for it. Dancing helps her feel confident and she sees it as a way of self-expression.

“I appreciate that it’s laid back. As if it wasn’t something competitive. It’s just a group of girls who come together because we like to dance,” Armstrong said. “Elise is aiming to expand the group. I mean, obviously we want to get bigger and have more people, but because we’re so small right now, it’s really like a mini-family and it’s super comfortable.”

Although members of the Hip Hop Society do not pay dues, there are costs associated with competing. Due to the pandemic, the group was unable to attend any competitions. However, the team wants to attend Monsters, a traveling hip-hop dance business convention, to see performances and prepare to compete in the future. Since 2003, Monsters has been a place where dancers can learn from some of the industry’s top professionals, compete, and potentially be recognized for their talent.

Hip Hop Society is inclusive and wants to not only serve as a dance team, but also as a place where girls can learn and improve their skills. The audition process to join the band is more of a progress check to see what skills each dancer brings rather than an expert judgement.

Spring auditions to join the Hip Hop Society took place on February 27. However, the band accepts members throughout the year as long as the audition does not affect the band’s event schedule.

Although the Hip Hop Society is primarily comprised of students from across the state of Texas, it is open to anyone from the area. After considering becoming a student organization, the members decided to keep it open to the public so anyone interested could become part of the organization.

This year, the group looks forward to gaining new members as well as continuing to grow and learn together as a team. Although Hip Hop Society has not participated in any major events due to the pandemic, the group has tentative plans to do so in the future.

For more information on Hip Hop Society or to watch videos of the groups’ routines, visit their Instagram @hip.hopsociety.

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