The best angle to present one’s point of view? According to Raw Elementz, it’s 360 degrees.
The campus hip-hop dance troupe is hosting Rawcus, its performer showcase, this Saturday. Though an annual tradition, this year’s show promises a new twist on tradition—moving the action off the stage and onto the floor of Roone Arledge Auditorium. By dancing within a marked circle on the same level as the audience, Rawcus allows audience members to watch the battle for the $500 prize from all 360 degrees.
A monster collection of on-campus groups, Rawcus spotlights dance performances by Raw Elementz, Onyx, CU Generation, Multicultural Greek Council, and a debut by the brand-new step team Venom, as well as a separate individual break dancing competition.
Raw Elementz publicity chair Alejandra Garcia, CC ’14, noted that hosting the event gives the group more freedom than they typically receive when they participate in other events.
“For our own showcase, we get to do more than one set,” she said. “This time, we put together several different ones that we get to be more dynamic and more creative with because it’s our own style ... Sometimes, when we perform, different events ask us, ‘Oh, we’re doing Chinese New Year’s showcase. Can you incorporate that into your set?’ And this time we just kind of get to do our own thing.”
However, Rawcus isn’t just a spectator sport: the Columbia University Society of Hip-hop is slated to join in, drawing out a more interactive side to the event with elements that require audience participation.
Lubeen Hamilton, CC ’13 and a member of CUSH, described performing at last year’s competition as really enjoyable.
“Rawcus last year was one of my first times performing with CUSH at a large-scale campus event, so of course I was a little nervous,” he said. “We asked the crowd to throw out storylines, and we would basically rap that storyline ... During my performance, the story I was given by someone in the crowd was you go to the store and they don’t have your favorite candy. I took that and ran with it, and it ended up being a really funny song.”
Hamilton found the event and its energy to be unique among the range of campus events that creates a lot of hype and really incites the crowd.
“The b-boy competition is so cool because it’s not something that we get often at Columbia,” he said. “Everybody is really interested and they’re pulling out all types of crazy moves that if I were to try I’d break my neck ... Everybody’s really excited, really amped up watching the show.”
Performances kick off at 8:30 p.m. in Roone Arledge Auditorium. Tickets may be purchased through TIC for $5 and also permit free entrance into the afterparty that night at Il Cibreo.