Syndi N ‘Chill: College Student-Run Hip-Hop Dance Troupe Syndicate Presents Spring Showcase “Syndi N’ Chill”

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COURTESY IMAGE // Caro Toth

On Friday, April 30, the College of William and Mary’s Hip Hop Syndicate Dance Team hosted their annual “SYNDI N ‘CHILL” Spring Showcase on YouTube.

Syndicate is a college student-led and choreographed hip-hop dance team that was established in 2004.

Union President Kyoko Minamino ’22 and Vice President Salimata Sanfo ’22 started the show with greetings and an introduction to the meaning of the team name.

“It stands for Student Network of Dance and Choreography Technique,” ​​Minamino said. “But we are much more than that… we are definitely family.”

“The theme for this semester is SYNDI N ‘CHILL,’ like ‘Netflix n’ Chill, ‘” Sanfo said. “And we’re so glad you all are seeing it.”

The new members of Syndicate opened the show with “New (ish) bies” choreographed by Jess Atkinson ’23. Their flowing movements emphasized the beauty of hip-hop dance to the audience.

After this play, the lights went out and the new team members were split into two groups and entered the stage to perform the next dance – “New Newbies”. Choreographed by Sabina Valery ’20, this dance was set to the tune of “1, 2 Step” by Ciara. As the two groups of dancers seemed to clash at first, they quickly mingled, igniting the audience and showing the endless possibilities of hip-hop dancing.

Then the dance “Chopped & Screwed” – initially to music of the same name by Ludacris – brought the audience a futuristic vibe using cool-toned stage lighting. Chopped and Screwed also refers to a hip-hop technique that involves complex hip roll and movement with a knee “bum”. Later, the stage light was changed to warm tones to suit Young Thug’s “Jumped Out the Window” music.

Many pieces, including “34 + 35” and “No Chill”, were presented following the piece “Chopped & Screwed”. The multiple styles and changing music of the show provided the audience with a perfect audiovisual experience. As a result, the show drew nearly a hundred people to watch the live broadcast, and the view count reached 423 just 11 hours later.

Besides their hip-hop dance techniques, the use of the chairs by the Syndicate dancers also surprised the audience. In the play “Freak Like Me”, Syndicate members entered the stage from both sides with chairs. Using these chairs, the dancers could express more complex body movements.

Unlike the “Freak Like Me” dancers, who chose to bring the chairs to the stage at the start of the dance, the “No Idea” dancers started out seated on the chairs. With their elbows on their knees and their heads turned to the floor, the dancers created a gesture that perfectly matched the words “I don’t know”.

One can easily see how versatile and colorful hip-hop dancing can be, even through the two pieces of chair dances performed by Syndicate members.

The 50-minute showcase ended with the finale to the music “Holding Out For A Hero”. Starting with a solo dance, Syndicate members then surprised audiences by moving on to group dances in which the previous dancers entered and then left the stage.

Although the showcase took place online, Union members fully showed the audience the ability and strength of hip-hop dance. The different dance forms and music in the show ensure that the show is eye-catching for audiences with different tastes.

For Hunter Hullinger ’23, the song “No Chill” captured his heart.

“Nothing can beat Syndicate’s live performances because the energy they have as a band is so invigorating to experience in person,” Hullinger said. “But I think they did a really good job online as they weren’t dancing in front of a live audience.”

Hullinger also noted that despite the hardships caused by the pandemic, the Syndicate’s showcase has always impressed.

“I was excited to see the show because I know they had some obstacles in practicing this semester and I was happy they were able to do it,” Hullinger added. “There aren’t a lot of good things happening on campus this semester, so it was good to have this fall so close to the finals.

Jasmine Garnes ’20 also echoed these sentiments, noting that the showcase impressed even on YouTube.

“I think they all did a great job adapting to the virtual setting and it was really well done,” Garnes said. “I think the only feedback I would have is to put the performers in the beginning, so we know who to expect to come!”

Although the virtual format posed many challenges for Syndicate members, they managed to overcome these difficulties through smooth transitions between the different dance pieces, the skillful use of stage lighting and the organic combination of dance and music. For students who are interested in hip-hop dance and Syndicate after watching this show, Syndicate holds auditions at the start of each semester and no formal dance experience is required.


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