APTOS—This Saturday, dancers from across the state of California will descend upon the Crocker Theatre at Cabrillo College for a special showcase.
The En Route Urban Dance Showcase was first organized in 2015 by Haluan, the hip-hop dance team from UCSC, which is housed under the school’s Filipino Student Association.
“We noticed a few years ago that that there weren’t many opportunities in the area for urban dance,” said organizer Ajani Thompson. “Santa Cruz is kind of excluded from the rest of the Bay Area. This was a way to bridge that gap.”
En Route is a non-judged show, unlike the competition events many participating groups regularly attend. This year, local dancers will join troupes from Berkeley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and Irvine, among others.
“It’s cool for all these groups to be in one place,” said Luis Sanchez, director of Watsonville’s own DSR Fam dance troupe. “There are so many styles. Someone always does something you’ve never seen before.”
ABOVE: Watsonville's own DSR Fam will perform this Saturday at the En Route Urban Dance Showcase. (Contributed photo)
Urban dance has evolved over the years from its hip-hop and street dance roots. The form often brings other kinds of dance—jazz, modern, even ballet—into a hip-hop framework, resulting in something entirely its own.
“It’s really beautiful to see,” Sanchez said. “Especially knowing that hip-hop is what brought it all together.”
En Route is entirely student-run, and all proceeds go to putting on the following year’s show, Thompson explained.
“We have a lot of passion for this show,” she continued. “It provides a community for everyone; for people of color, for people from different backgrounds. It’s everything we believe in.”
Sanchez and the rest of DSR Fam went to see the very first En Route show in 2015. By the following year, they had moved from the audience to the stage and have participated ever since.
“Everyone is there to support each other and have a good time,” he said. “The audience is always so loud, cheering and calling out. It’s just lots of fun.”
The En Route Urban Dance Showcase will be held on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Cabrillo College’s Crocker Theatre, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $18 for seniors and students. To preorder visit cabrillovapa.com. For information visit the En Route Urban Dance Showcase’s official Facebook page.