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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Local dance group shares love of dance through hip-hop

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Hip Hop Society’s Fall crew during practice.

The polished techniques of Elise Andrade’s ballet class were just too structured for her. 
She yearned for a place away from the 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 required dance curriculum led her to create the local dance group, Hip Hop Society.
“Ballet was very frustrating for me,” Andrade, a dance education sophomore, said. “So, I decided that I wanted to do something that would make me not as frustrated with ballet. I figured if I started this group that [I] would have something else to focus on. It would give me some more motivation.” 
Hip Hop Society officially formed in September 2021 and has since brought together a small group of girls who all share the desire to hone their dance skills and express their love for hip-hop.
Andrade set out to create the group after reminiscing on the team-like atmosphere she once had competing in a hip-hop dance team in high school. She has also worked as a dance instructor, which has broadened her perspective and helped cultivate her growth as a dancer. Through Hip Hop Society, Andrade has gone back to her roots and established a safe space for girls to dance.
Initially, the idea of starting a dance group seemed like an impossible goal. While enrolled in the ballet class, she noticed that there weren’t any non-competitive hip-hop dance opportunities at Texas State that focused on helping dancers improve their technique. Andrade was enjoying the classes she was in, but she missed hip-hop and wanted to start a group where members could connect with one another.
“[Hip Hop Society is] like a home. Like, I don’t really care if I have two girls on the team or 20,” Andrade said. “It’s like, a connection between all of us who have like the same interest and a love for something.”
Gisella Zamora, a psychology sophomore, found out about Hip Hop Society through her mom who found the audition information on Facebook. Zamora started dancing when she was in fifth grade and went on the dance competitively on her high school’s dance team. Although she enjoys all types of dance, hip-hop is her favorite because individuals can show off their own personalities and style without the competitive structures.
“I think that Strutters or any collegiate team can be like, very intimidating and just kind of hard to get into,” Zamora said. “[Hip Hop Society] is more like just us coming 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 out on foundational first-year experiences. She said joining Hip Hop Society has been one of her first chances of meeting 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 that she is grateful for. 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’re like dancing together and learning it, everybody picks up things differently and grows differently. If I’m not getting something and somebody else does, they’re gonna help me with it,” Zamora said.
Alyssa Armstrong, a communication studies junior, found out that Andrade was starting Hip Hop Society after seeing her post on Snapchat. Armstrong had been looking for a dance team to join that wouldn’t take up too much time and that was affordable. She said Hip Hop Society was the perfect match for her.
“I was looking for something at Texas State that was low cost and something that was related to hip-hop dancing, that was accessible to me,” Armstrong said “I just wanted to be a part of a group where I could afford to dance and follow a passion of mine. It was also a really cool thing that it’s a niche that isn’t really in Texas State.”
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 enjoy that it’s casual. Like it’s not something that’s competitive. It’s just a group of girls coming together because we like dancing,” Armstrong said. “Elise has the goal of expanding the group. I mean obviously, we want to get bigger and have more people but because we’re so small right now, it’s very much like a mini family and it’s super comfortable.”
While Hip Hop Society members do not pay dues, there are costs associated with competing. Due to the pandemic, the group hasn’t been able to attend any competitions. However, the team is interested in attending Monsters, a traveling commercial hip-hop dance convention, to watch performances and prepare to compete in the future. Since 2003, Monsters has served as a place where dancers can learn from some of the industry’s best professionals, compete and potentially get recognized for their talent.
Hip Hop Society is inclusive and wants to not only serve as a dance team but as a place where girls can learn and improve on their techniques. The audition process to join the group is more of a progress check to see what skill sets each dancer brings rather than a judgment of expertise.
Spring auditions to join Hip Hop Society were on Feb. 27. However, the group accepts members throughout the year as long as the audition does not affect the group’s event schedule.
Although Hip Hop Society is mostly made up of Texas State students, it is open for anyone in the local area to join. After considering becoming a student organization, the members decided to keep it open to the public so anyone interested can be a 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. While Hip Hop Society has not competed at 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 its Instagram @hip.hopsociety.

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