Stuy Legacy Places Second at BOOM Dance Competition

Stuy Legacy places second at the BOOM Dance Competition at Mount Saint Vincent College

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By The Photo Department

Stuyvesant’s dance team, Stuy Legacy, won second place at the BOOM competition based at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York City on March 25. The competition was hosted by the dance team Filament Dance Troupe, and there were eight teams, five adult teams and three high school teams, competing in total. The competition was Stuy Legacy’s first competition since SAYAW XI in 2020. Each team showcased their sets for five minutes and was then scored by three judges. Multiple choreographers in Stuy Legacy created separate pieces, each comprising roughly a minute of the total dance set, which combined to create a cohesive set for the competition.

Stuy Legacy is a hip-hop-based dance club established in 2016 for Stuyvesant students interested in dancing. “Stuy Legacy is a dance team [where] no previous dance experience is required, so anyone who’s slightly even interested in dance, think about coming out and trying to audition,” said junior Roy Park, a choreographer for Stuy Legacy.

For the BOOM competition, Stuy Legacy’s dance set consisted of five pieces, each choreographed by a different person. Park choreographed the opening piece to “Start a Riot” by Banners. The second piece was choreographed by junior Fiana Lin to “I’m Legit” by Nicki Minaj, followed by a piece choreographed by junior Suki Ferguson to “Solita” by Kali Uchis. The following two pieces were created by junior Caleb Song and senior Melody Lin, to “Homicide” by Eminem and “Cold-Blooded” by Jessi, respectively.

Some of the BOOM competition choreography was reused from previously performed sets, such as their earlier performance at SAYAW XI at Stony Brook University. However, they all required a significant amount of reworking. Park noted the collaborative process of putting the competition set together for the BOOM Competition and the creative freedom that choreographers had throughout the process. “We all get together as the whole artist board and discuss what themes, ideas, [or] song choices that we want to do,” Park said. “You do get independence and free reign but we still have to all match the songs together.”

For Song, his choreography was mainly inspired by the hip-hop influences that Stuy Legacy typically focuses on. “I drew a lot of my inspiration from a lot of contemporary hip hop dancers,” he said. “Stuy Legacy in general is just a team based on hip hop, we’re trying to incorporate a lot of traditional hip hop moves and other dance styles.”

Park chose “Homicide” to contrast the theme of last season’s competition set. “Last season, we had a very sad and emotional set correlated to the [theme] of COVID-19,” Park said. “And now we want to have an angry, crazy set, and I guess that’s where I got the inspiration for choosing those kinds of songs.”

Lin, who is also Stuy Legacy’s Artistic Director, explained how the inspiration for her choreography came to her by moving naturally with her song. “I just listened to the song a lot and moved to it; [...] when I find something that fits, then I’ll keep it the way it is,” she said.

The process of developing the sets included a series of challenges and trial-and-errors, especially as the choreographers worked to refine the performance. “The process includes a tremendous amount of experimentation, choreo-block, and feedback from more experienced dancers and the team itself,” Ferguson said in an e-mail interview. “I usually break down the music into eight-counts and first envision what can be included in my choreography. Then[,] I start to freestyle and see what I can or cannot execute or what moves I do or do not like.”

In the beginning of February, practices started occurring more frequently as the competition date approached to clean up the full-runs of the finished piece and build stamina. “There was a lot of sacrifice involved in terms of choosing what to focus on. There were a lot of days where I had to choose to either study for a test, practice choreo, or to get some sleep,” Lee said.

Despite having a limited amount of preparation time, Stuy Legacy was still able to perform a finished set. “We started preparing in February and it’s crazy because we put this all together in like three weeks,” Song said. “We put a lot of effort and time into this set even though [we were] very short on time.”

Sophomore Selina Chen, a member of an opposing team, Project Spark, which placed third, enjoyed Stuy Legacy’s choreography. “I think their performance was great; they were really clean,” Chen said. “I’m pretty happy with how the results came out. I think that both teams put in their best effort.”

Many new members were also proud of their performance at the competition. “It felt surreal that we placed because the other teams that performed were really good. We had a lot of pressure on us because there were high expectations of Stuy Legacy we felt like we needed to uphold,” Lee said.

Stuy Legacy emphasized that placing was not as important as their passion for dance. “Honestly for us, I think we go for the purpose of dancing on stage and performing, which is something that we haven’t done in a while. And so placing doesn’t really matter too much for us; it’s more an added bonus,” Park said.

As a first-year artistic director, Ferguson hopes that the BOOM Competition will help the team to grow and advance in the competitive dance world. “As we continue through our competition season, we can keep our second place evaluation at BOOM to be a benchmark to build off of. There is so much more to work and grow on, that this result increases our drive to improve for our upcoming competitions,” she said.

In the end, the effort put forth by the members of Stuy Legacy was reflected in their performance in the BOOM Competition. “The days and hours leading up to the performance were draining but when it was time to perform, everyone gave their all. The cheering from the crowd and the loud music playing from the speakers gave me this rush of adrenaline and it felt like the shortest five minutes of my life,” Lee said.