After several years of being M.I.A to the serious dance world, the Association of Filipino Students of USF are ready to throw down once more.
For the past (freakin’ fast) month, college-aged Asians (and wanna-be Asians) from all over Tampa have been gathering at the University of South Florida to practice for the upcoming Def Talent Jam (DTJ) talent competition. DTJ—hosted by the Filipino Student Association of the University of Florida—is a weekend-long celebration at UF featuring performances from national artists, a sports fest… but everyone knows the ultimate reason you go is for the dance competition on Saturday night. Filipino groups from Florida (and Georgia) universities dance head-to-head for the ultimate pride prize… and the competition has been getting crazier with every year!
Although DTJ has been present for more than ten years, USF-AFS was a late-comer to the competition. The group suddenly appeared in 2004 with a dance crew… and promptly took second place. The next year the group returned to claim first place while also grabbing the gold for several years at PhilFest competitions as well (a statewide Philippine festival annually held in Tampa). When it seemed the USF-AFS was untouchable in dance, the group didn’t place in 2006 and saw a huge group separation in 2007. Since then, USF-AFS has been notably absent from DTJ…
Meanwhile, with the introduction of America’s Best Dance Crew on TV, DTJ’s dance competition was getting hotter and the moves became more complicated. With USF-AFS’s determination to return to DTJ, was the group ready to compete against other schools that have only gotten stronger since the last throwdown? For the past nights I’ve laughed, frowned, yelled, and cheered while watching the group practice… and practice… do homework… and practice.
The majority of the crew had never danced before– is a body roll some time of sushi? And it was a battle to start cleaning up the routine so late in the game– ummm, the final music mix? Uh, yea! But I have to bow down to all the dancers, choreographers, and leaders… they’ve brought the dance group of USF-AFS back… and they’ve traveled further in dance than all my past years of dancing at DTJ and Philfest if put on a truckful of gas down I-75. It’s still hard to say whether the group is capable of winning a place or not, but I will still be there cheering.
The group’s name? SHAKE YO’ AFS
Stay tuned for the results this weekend.