By Jadée Nikita
Highline Ballroom opened its doors to Urban Dance League‘s 2nd annual Exhibition game this past Monday. If you missed it, you missed dance history in the making.
UDL is a professional sports league of organized street-dance competitions, classes, and showcases. It presents professional dancing in the same arena as the professional sports and athletic world. According to the game’s founder and director, Ant Boogie, “If we can watch golf, tennis and basketball on t.v, why can’t we watch dancers compete?”
The show kicked off with a youth hip-hop group from Long Island City. Other performances included a fierce hip-hop group routine by Neil Schwartz, followed by a contemporary-fusion number by Dana Foglia.
After warming up the audience with such amazing professional talent, Ant Boogie introduced the 8 cast members of the night’s competition. Their dance styles ran the gamut, from b-boys and krumpers to waackers and the technically trained. They were introduced one-by-one and each given a minute to freestyle and show the audience their individual swag. Then the competition began!
Dr. Ew was the choreographer and Bruno Mars “Locked out of Heaven” was the track. The 8 UDL dancers took the stage and showed the audience the combination they had previously learned. This combo was the determining factor for what we will call, the 1/4 finalists. They had 10 minutes to review the combo and then broke into two groups of 4 to compete for the next round.
During the fifteen minute intermission, the four semi-finalists were given a moment to catch their breath. In the meantime, Elliot Ez Zimet came out and worked his magic. Literally! Fly Gyal’s, this was a performance you had to be there to believe. Mics were turned into doves, doves turned into smoke, and out of the smoke appeared a parrot! And that was just the beginning. Your head fly gyal was called on stage to assist with a wicked card trick that left the entire audience gobsmacked!
At the end of intermission, the 4 semi-finalists took the stage to learn the second half of the combination on the spot. Yes! They learned another 4-8 counts with no mirror, in front of a packed audience with all eyes on them. No pressure or anything! Dr. Ew gave them 10 min to learn and review the combo, then the 4 had a chance to perform the entire routine a few times before the choreographer picked his top 2. Sudden death!! Ladies, you will be happy to know three out of the four semi-finalists were gyals, and the top 2 finalists were both gyals! Way to represent! But, of course, there can only be one winner, and her name is Nicole Altchiler. Check out the Finalist video here!
Congrats to her and to Ant Boogie for putting together an amazing kick-off event. Big things are in the works for UDL so if you don’t know about it, educate yourself!
Classes begin March 3rd at 7:30pm with Manwe and the prizes are enormous this year! Whoever accumulates the most points this season wins a full Scholarship for 1 season (that’s over 60 classes!), a Website Tribute, cash money, a special mystery perk + respect amongst their peers! Dancers are athletes! Never forget it! Join the UDL website and subscribe for email updates and special events here!