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The crowd cheered as senior and Black Student Union (BSU) member Akil Hamsath slid onto the dance floor to kick off the 8th Annual Aragon Dance Competition sponsored by the BSU. This year, the competition was held in Aragon’s theater on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The BSU and their organizing advisor, math teacher Don Bush, invited students and their teams from all over the Bay Area to compete. Six groups performed on Saturday and the competition lasted approximately two hours.
The event culminated with an awards ceremony, where the top three groups were named and given awards. Willow Glen High School, Mercy High School of Burlingame, and San Mateo High School received first, second and third place, respectively. Bret Harte’s Dance Troupe also received the most spirited award, as the judges thought they generated the largest response from the audience.
The event offered an atmosphere of high energy, allowing the crowd to get involved with each performance, whether it be cheering, or even getting on stage and dancing alongside the performers. Angel Caldwell, a sophomore at Willow Glen says, “I did well in front of the crowd. They gave off a good vibe.”
This year’s theme, differing from years past, was a ’70s Throwback. However, this did not limit the different styles offered by the various teams. Parent Amanda Ford commented, “A lot of genres are evolving right now, and it’s interesting to see how the performers interpret it.”
Each team performed to a mix of music. Four of the six teams were judged. The teams that competed were judged by English teacher Jennifer Wei, history teacher Ron Berggren and art teacher Barbara Hughes.
Aragon junior Zaneta Lai commented, “We don’t usually compete. It was nerve-wracking, but it was really fun.”
San Mateo High School senior Jane Sun said, “This is our one competition of the year, so it was fun to perform … I think we rocked it.”
Another difference is where the proceeds will go. Each year, part of the competition’s proceeds go to a charity organization. In years past, the BSU donated around half of their profits to the organization My New Red Shoes, whereas this year, the group will be supporting the Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts through the Red Cross. As a result, members of the Filipino Club assisted the BSU at the event.
Although about two hours long, many members of the audience and performing teams would have liked a bigger event. Parent Michael Washington comments, “They need more groups to come, more people to compete.”
Hamsath, after his second year of hosting the competition, says, “Last year, it was my first time, so I was pretty nervous. This year I was more prepared, but I think I rushed [the event] a little.”
Bush explains how the dance show was originally conceived, saying, “[BSU Members] were just looking for a fundraiser—‘Just what can we do as a fundraiser?’ This was back in my second year, around 2005 or 2006, when they came up with this. They wanted to see how it would turn out, and so far it’s been good.”
Hamsath comments on the idea of the show, saying, “If you hear about a dance show, it sounds awesome. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to come watch awesome dancing.”