Prelude Norcal Hip Hop Dance Competition: A Personal Recount [PARTNER POST]

By Denise

My decision to take on the role of Company Manager for Prelude Norcal Hip Hop Dance Competition, hosted by Main Stacks dance team in Berkeley, CA, came at a time of great confusion. While all of my peers around me were focusing all their energy on locking in jobs in huge business firms, I was faced the difficult task of convincing my mother to sponsor my 3-month stay in Berkeley while I planned a hip hop dance competition with no income. Every day, I struggled to justify spending 4-5 hours a day planning this show, sometimes pausing on writing my cover letters and studying for my GREs to respond to the endless stream of Prelude Norcal emails from my committee, my team, and the 16 other teams participating in the event. Needless to say, as I watched the rest of the Prelude Directors try and juggle internships, jobs, school, and Prelude at the same time, there were times during this incredibly tough journey that I was afraid we might just all drop from exhaustion.

So what for? Why, you may ask, would we put ourselves through all this stress and high blood pressure for a hip hop dance show? In all honesty, who cares?

The answer is this: we care. Main Stacks wanted to produce a show that didn’t just showcase talent; we wanted to put on a show that brought the entire dance community closer. Prelude Norcal was not simply a hip hop dance competition, but a celebration of all the hard work that dancers put into perfecting their craft. What Prelude Norcal represented was an unfiltered look at the dance community, outside the lens of MTV’s cameras. It’s a glimpse at a group of young people entirely committed to teamwork and creating something magical collectively. There is no ulterior desire for the glam and glitz of ABDC fame, but rather just a chance to represent their hometown to their fullest potential through their art.

The support and energy amongst the audience on Saturday night was incredible. Anyone who had been there could feel the electrifying buzz that permeated throughout the house. Every dance team that performed on that stage left their hearts out there and in return, the crowd, sprinkled with friends, families, and fellow dancers, responded with only positivity and love. And because of that, the looming reminder of Prelude Norcal being a competition seemed to fade for second; because it almost didn’t matter if you placed or not, just so long as you produced an amazing performance with no regrets. It didn’t matter what crew you danced for, tonight was a celebration of dance with all your fellow dancers.

Prelude Norcal was a space of appreciation for all the dedication, discipline, and hard work that every dancer had committed themselves to. Everything from the short video clips of team cheers before each performance, the encouragement of dance teams to cheer for one another from the balcony seating, the massive amounts of hand painted “Go team!” posters backstage, playing interactive team games before the show, to Huan Dong, our MC, pausing the show for a second to allow audience members to introduce themselves to their neighbors—this show did everything in its power strengthen the dance community and create nothing but positive energy and support for all dancers throughout the night.

And with that, Prelude Norcal was truly a success. Main Stacks did exactly what we wanted to do: After Saturday night, we can confidently say that we have done our role in strengthening the Bay Area dance community a little more.

Did you miss Prelude Norcal 2011? Don’t miss it again! Stay tuned for more information on Main Stacks and all of our future events.

ABOUT DENISE: Denise Chan is a Ethnic Studies graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her honors thesis on Asian American youth identity in the hip hop dance community. Denise was the Executive Director of Main Stacks dance team 2010-2011 and was also the Company Manager of Prelude Norcal Hip Hop Dance Competition 2011.

Prelude Norcal Hip Hop Dance Competition 2011 took place on November 19, 2011 at Chabot College Performing Arts Center.

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