Clarkie of the Week: Hip Hop Collabo

Eboard of Hip Hop Collabo

By Anna Spack
scarlet staff

This week I interviewed five members on the eboard of Hip Hop Collabo, Clark’s hip hop group which has its semester show coming up this Friday and Saturday. The members I interviewed were Chris Hantowicz and Heather Parlee, both co-directors, Olivia Rogine and Ashley Holt, co-treasurers, and Theresa Reish, the secretary. Surya Ry, who is in charge of publicity for the club, was not present at the interview but is also a member of the eboard. The club has nineteen members in total.






Scarlet:What is Hip Hop Collabo?

Chris:It’s just a hip-hop dance group on campus. We have auditions at the beginning of every year. We’re more like a performance group than a competition group.

Heather: “Collabo” is short for “collaboration.” We all come from different areas and backgrounds and it doesn’t matter because we all come together and share the same passion.

Chris: We call it Hip Hop Collabo, but there are a lot of different styles [of dance]. A lot of people come from a contemporary background, and there are also different styles of hip-hop, like routine hip-hop and contemporary hip-hop. Then there’s dancehall and other things like that.

Scarlet: What are all of your roles in the club?

Olivia: Ashley and I are co-treasurers, so basically we’re in charge of the financial aspect of the club, which involves working with purchase orders and stuff like that. But eboard as a whole does most of the voting and what needs to be done; we all contribute.

Theresa: I email everybody. I send YouTube videos at the end of every email.

Chris: We all basically just do whatever. We’re a collaborative club; in terms of voting we have lots of discussions and stuff like that.

Heather: We [co-directors] narrow things down for the club. We also get up really early on the first day of school and book Atwood for the semester. We’re a new group this year [because a lot of people graduated last year]. Both of our co-directors are juniors; it’s usually seniors who are co-directors. We’re all new, but we’re taking it on together rather than having individual jobs.

Scarlet:How did you first get involved in Hip Hop Collabo and in hip hop in general?

Ashley: I did Connections my first year at Clark and I met people who were in Hip Hop Collabo. They told me they were going to audition for it, so I went. I did hip hop before coming to Clark so I knew I wanted to continue that.

Chris: Similarly, before I came to Clark I had done dance in high school, so it was obviously an interest to me. I originally wanted to join a reggae dance club, but Clark didn’t have that so I decided to join Hip Hop Collabo since it was the next best thing.

Olivia: I transferred to Clark, so I was interested in the dance club at my previous school, but I had played softball in high school. Then I came here and I was like, “Oh, I’ll try it,” but I really thought I just wanted to be on the softball team… But then I made it and thought it was cool, so now I’m a dancer instead of an athlete. I’ve only been doing hip hop since my junior year of high school, so it’s been interesting to grow [since then].

Scarlet: What’s your favorite part about being in the club?

Theresa: Hell Week. It’s what we’re in right now, we have practice from 6pm-12am every day. But it’s great; you become really close with everyone.

Heather: Yeah, we become really close with each other because we spend a lot of time together.

Ashley: Definitely making new friends has been the best part for me.

Olivia: There are so many strong personalities, and it’s really interesting performing and coming together, so that’s really cool. Also we all have our different dance styles; Chris does dancehall, Ashelly does step, other people have their own styles… So it’s really interesting how it all works out.

Heather: Yeah, I’m sort-of becoming obsessed with dancehall because I learned it from Chris.

Scarlet: What is dancehall?

Chris: It’s similar to reggae; it’s basically a tropical/Caribbean dance.

Scarlet: Can you explain what your upcoming event, “Your Wildest Dreams,” is going to be like? And what is the basis for the name?

Theresa: Well one of our complaints in the past is that our theme has had nothingto do with our dances. So the idea of having “dreams” means that your dance can really go wherever it wants. The theme fits everything; it deals with all of our different styles. We’re performing for the audience, so we wanted to try and fix what their most common complaint was.

Heather: They also always used to complain that our breaks between dances would be too long, and recently every year we’ve been getting faster and faster at that.

Chris: Yeah, this year we decided to bring in other people to perform besides Collabo. There will be performances by Juru Zen and the B-Boys of Worcester, and the Shenanigans [comedy improv group] is opening the show.

Heather: Also, about the theme, we made it dreams so that we could all do our own styles, but in a way it came together and everything fit [with that theme]. All our music has the word “dreams”, and everybody’s dances are kind-of dreamy.

Scarlet: What is the structure of the show? How many dances are there, and how many people are in each dance?

Theresa: Our smallest dance is six.

Heather: But that’s really rare; usually our smallest dance is three.

Chris: The structure of the show has three main dances: intro, core, and outro. For those three everyone is on stage – we all choreographed them together.

Heather: Yeah, like in our intro we all choreographed our own chunk of music, so it’s just a string of everyone’s own style in one long dance. It’s pretty cool.

Olivia: In between the intro and outro are specific dances that any of us can choreograph (all of us choreographed for this show). Those are individual dances where the choreographer is the main director.

Scarlet: How long have you been preparing for this event?

Theresa: Since Week One.

Olivia: We took on new members the second week of school and since then we’ve been preparing. Our show is really early this year; it’s usually in early December. But because of that we all worked extremely hard for it.

Scarlet: Does Hip Hop Collabo do any other events or shows during the year?

Olivia: We perform in Gala too. This year we’re also trying to do workshops to involve people outside of the club. We also did Clark’s Got Talent.

Heather: We’ve got asked to do a lot of different performances throughout the year but we haven’t been able to because our show is so early this year.

Scarlet: Is there anything else you want to add?
Eboard: Come to the show, bring your friends!

Make sure to come to Hip Hop Collabo’s fall semester show, “Your Wildest Dreams”, this Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10 in Atwood. The show is free and doors open at 6:30 both nights with the show starting at 7:00.