DEF TALENT JAM XVIII

Countless hours of chasing choreographers, learning routines, and dancing on top of a parking garage comes to an end.

The Shake Yo' AFS TeamOver the weekend, Gainesville FL was like a free buffet of lumpia as it attracted hundreds of Filipino college students and their barkada. The reason? The annual Def Talent Jam (DTJ)—a hot competition between Filipino groups from nearby universities.

This year’s theme was iPod shuffle and on Saturday night, seven crews each representing a university slapped the crowd into a frenzy with a collection of insane, dance routines that had to shuffle between different musical genres. The defending champions from Atlanta really impressed me when they transformed the stage into a mental health asylum gone dance-y. Their mad-crazy performance paid off as they walked away with the cash prize as well as bragging rights for another year.

Atlanta shows off its moves (heh heh, I had good seats, but those judges will always be in the frame)

I’m proud of my own University of South Florida group—named Shake Yo AFS. Despite not placing, the members were far from glum. Instead of a pity movement, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of over-sugared pre-schoolers. The members were still having a great time and were already thinking of how to learn from mistakes—when did the younger generation suddenly become more responsible?

The young’uns of Shake Yo AFS crowd the stage

As for Adobowl—the flag football competition the next day—ehhhh, I don’t want to waste space writing about something I don’t care about.

If you want to see more performances from other teams, visit my YouTube page. (Yup yup, prepare to see more of those two judges)

Or view all my Pyra Pics… (sigh) with so much running around I didn’t take many “useful” pictures.

SIDE NOTE TO THE DTJ ORGANIZERS:
I give you guys 80% props for a well-organized event, but I can’t give you the full 100%. Why? Why-oh-why did you still use the Towers as a DTJ venue? Are you trying to set a record for turning people away? DTJ is an event that grows every year and we expect the venue to grow accordingly. Among those who couldn’t get seats were two of USF’s main choreographers. Unfortunately, our own organizer did not register them as dancers. Upon learning of this too late, they went to buy tickets and found all the tickets sold out. Plan the venue better next year so nobody has to drive all the way to Gainesville just to spend DTJ sitting outside the Towers and only able to listen to the soundtrack.

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