REVIEW: Michigan’s Best Dance Crew

All reality shows have an opening number, and Michigan’s Best Dance Crew was no different, kicking off with the emcees lip-syncing to The Cheetah Girls. That’s when I knew it was going to be good.

The show was an hour and a half of unadulterated fun. Each crew — all student-run and choreographed — had a different flavor, making for a well-rounded and entertaining event. Here’s a peek at my judging sheet*:

*I was not an official judge for the event

Dance 2XS (pronounced “To Success”) were a great start to the competition. The hip-hop crew was poised and energetic. They weren’t as flashy as some of the groups that followed, nor did they break out a lot of big tricks, but the eventual third-place winners still made an impact. They didn’t stand out as much as some of the other groups, but they had no real weaknesses either and set the tone for the rest of the night.

Michigan Izzat fuses hip-hop with the traditional Indian styles of Bhangra and Bollywood. I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up loving them.  You could tell from their performance that they genuinely enjoyed every moment up on that stage, and I thought the way they combined the styles worked really well. They didn’t place, making them my biggest snub of the night, but that fact truly speaks to the level of all the crews that performed.

Impact Dance brought it with a sassy jazz medley. I couldn’t take my eyes off one particular girl. She was front and center through most of the number, and her flawless technique, poise, and personality really carried the piece. One of the hardest parts of jazz is getting turns and leaps in sync, and Impact struggled with that at times, though their performance quality was good enough that it was quickly forgiven.

EnCore is one of the more popular crews on campus, and here they showed why, taking home second place from the judges as well as the People’s Choice Award. From the moment they walked out onstage in personalized black jackets, you could tell they were a force to be reckoned with. EnCore stood out because of their polish, difficult moves, and technique, and their number left the audience cheering.

FunKtion hip-hop crew blew me away with their innovative choreography. Their music was a medley of hip-hop, R&B, house, and even EDM songs. They incorporated traditional hip-hop moves as well as animation and breakdance and made it flow seamlessly, impressing the judges enough to win them the grand prize. FunKtion wasn’t quite as synchronized or polished as EnCore, but their passion for dance was clear at every moment, and they get bonus points for ending their routine with jazz hands.

Cadence gave the audience a completely different look with their contemporary number. I was impressed by their choreography, as often contemporary numbers start to feel like a mere series of leg extensions. This wasn’t the case for Cadence, whose dance really told a story. The emotion of the choreography was occasionally betrayed in some of the dancers’ faces, but for the most part, they sold their emotional piece, and it carried them to a third-place tie.

The party didn’t end there. While the judges tallied the votes, members of Michigan Izzat, FunKtion, and Dance 2XS came onstage for a freestyle dance battle. FunKtion captivated with their popping and ultimately won the largest share of the applause, the cherry on top of their overall win.

Michigan’s Best Dance Crew was one of the most fun on-campus events I’ve been to this year. If it’s renewed for another season, I’ll be back, and you should come, too.

REVIEW: Dance Mix 2017 The Galaxy Edition

What a night. I started walking over to the Power Center with my friend five minutes before the concert started to find a building packed with students. Before the first group took the stage, the organizers announced that this was the second sold-out concert in a row.


Some sold-out concerts don’t feel sold out. You can spot empty seats and the audience is tame. Not so for this young, rambunctious crowd that hooted and hollered names of friends in the dance groups all throughout the event. Between the energy of the audience and the students moving around on stage, the 2.5 hour event felt like taking a shot of espresso.

When things get hot and heavy on stage

First off, I have to apologize at not being able to keep track of the names of the groups. Every group that took the stage was incredibly talented in their own unique way. Alas, I did not have a program with me during the concert so I could not tell exactly which group was on stage at a particular time.






I can’t imagine it’s easy to fit a wide variety of student acts into one concert, but Dance Mix 17 pulled it off through smooth transitions between more traditional ballet (top left picture) and decidedly modern hip-hop (top right picture), as well as dancers that both to the melodies of ballads and rock songs alike.

One of the highlights of the group was Revolution and their stringless yo-yo performance. Countless students walked across the stage slinging their plastic yo-yo’s like divine beings levitating rocks. Those plastic yo-yo’s flew across the stage and around the slingers and every trick drew fresh cheers from the crowd. Even the tricks that failed still felt like successes, and I was definitely not the only one entranced by the performance.


Later, Photonix performed in the dark with glow sticks, producing images like the one you see in the header photo of this blog. Towards the end of the performance, they unleashed hundreds of mini glow sticks into the audience.
The audience being composed almost entirely of students, everyone went wild.

Another highlight of the night was a Bollywood rendition of Top Gun (by Michigan Manzil I think). The story was a cliche telling of a young fighter pilot who loses his friend in a fight, but this isn’t a Hollywood film and the performance was one of the standouts of the second half of the night.

The Bollywood-esque peformance went through half a dozen wardrobe changes without a hitch, in addition to props and set pieces, and above all it was entertaining as heck.

Rounding out the rest of the night were performances by EnCore (picture below), Outrage, and FunKtion again.

I’m incredibly glad I was able to attend this event, and if you’re reading this blog and didn’t go this year, you NEED to attend next year.