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USU’s hip-hop dance team 'Vilociti' busts a move

On March 25, 2011

A group of about 30 people stand on the stage. Some are chatting and laughing, while others stand silent. An above-average percentage sport brightly-colored Nike high top shoes. A girl cues the iPod touch connected to the speakers, and suddenly the entire group is in sync.

Vilociti is a hip-hop dance group on campus that welcomes dancers of all skill levels. Students like Brett George, a junior majoring in liberal arts, and Joey Geurts, a sophomore in public relations, said the group helped them feel more at home at USU.

"Dance is the kind of thing that if I didn't have, I'd go crazy," George said. "For me, it's something so much stronger than just something you like to do. In order for me to express who I am, I have to dance. This provides a safe haven for that."

Geurts said the two came from a different background than a lot of other dancers.

"I danced for years before coming here, but both (George) and I come from a different school of thought," Geurts said. "We're what you call street dancers. As a street dancer, you do a lot of freestyle, a lot of battles. We dance, just not in a studio."

That changed when Geurts tried out for Vilociti. Members of the club learn choreographed dances, usually created by their peers, and perform them as a group.

"My favorite part is making choreography," Davis Gerlds, a junior in psychology, said. "I like to freestyle hip-hop, and I use that when I do this."

Orlando Porras, a freshman in graphic design, said at first it was difficult to learn choreography, especially because he did not have a dance background, but it got easier as time went on.

"Everyone in the company has a different major and we come from different places," Porras said. "There's probably a 10-year age gap, but we come together to do the same thing and be united."

Sophomore and exercise science major Kristin Peterson said she loves Vilociti because it's fun and she connects with people.

"Last year, I was on the track team and I loved it, but I missed just having fun," Peterson said. "I've made so many friends through it. It's really cool how we can support each other."

Natalie Miller, a junior in exercise science, said being in the group has helped her better control emotion and become more well-rounded.

"I'm not an emotional person," Miller said. "But in dance, you have to do it with emotion because dancing without emotion is just moving."

Artistic director and planner for the group, Krissy Fry, began the company as a student three years ago. She is in charge of both Vilociti and Full Circle, a contemporary dance group on campus.

"I started Full Circle in the fall of 2007," Fry said. "But then I was teaching PE hip-hop classes, and there was such a high interest for that, so I started Vilociti."

Fry said USU once had a dance program that her sister was in, but the program was cut more than 15 years ago. Now Fry is working with the university to get it back.

"I think if I hadn't started the companies, it would have taken the university a lot longer to to take dance seriously and consider bringing back the program."

George said the number of people interested in the group has grown every year.

"This year there's about 40 members, which is double what we had last year," George said. "We had over 100 people try out this year, so the demand has gone up exponentially. We're getting stronger and stronger. I hope that we can continue to prove that with our dancing."

George said Vilociti has been striving to prove itself among the other performing arts groups. He said members of the company put in a lot of time without any type of merit or compensation.

Fry said the passion of the student dancers is inspiring.

"It's something they do for nothing," Fry said. "We don't have scholarships or financial support from the university. We do it because we love it."

J.C. Hardy, a junior majoring in agribusiness, is in both Vilociti and Full Circle. He's danced for six years and said being a member of the groups has been a big time commitment.

"I calculated it out, and I'm putting in about 14 hours a week right now," Hardy said. "I'm trying to cut one out for next year, but I'm having a hard time deciding because I love both."

Fry said Full Circle and Vilociti both practice three times a week for at least two and a half hours at each practice. She said sometimes practices are extended to four hours, and extra rehearsals are required before shows.

Despite the time commitment, George said he loves it and feels he has grown as part of the group.

"I'm twice the dancer I was before I came," George said. "Break dancing is all about the individual, about how well you hold up a circle. In here, you learn to move as one and exhibit something that's so much greater than what an individual can do on their own."

Anna Dahl, a senior in FCHD and health, said she has been a dancer since age 4 and has been with Vilociti since the very beginning. She said the group has performed at elementary schools and USU events throughout the year, but her favorite event is the spring semester show.

"The show is the most stressful part," Dahl said. "It can be really overwhelming, but it is so worth it. Through the year we become a family and hang out outside of dance. I love it."12

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