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Ohio State-originated hip-hop dance movement is spreading

Louis Halley, instructor of OnCUE dance outlines a routine during a session in Sullivan Hall. Credit: Dominique Johnson | Lantern Reporter

Louis Halley, instructor of OnCUE dance outlines a routine during a session in Sullivan Hall. Credit: Dominique Johnson | Lantern Reporter

Ohio State student Louis Halley has taken on the challenge of keeping the onC.U.E dance organization alive on campus.

OnC.U.E, which stands for on Create, Unite and Empower, was started at OSU by former graduate student Quilan Cue Arnold in 2015. It has since spread to other parts of Columbus and New York City. The movement started in an effort to use hip-hop dance culture to connect people with themselves and their communities, according to its website.

Halley, a fifth-year in communication, focuses more on a house style of dance with his students in his new class. He said his love for house music and its accompanying dance style is inspired by the culture of his home island of Saint Martin.

“I grew up on an island with a lot of salsa and machaca, which kind of got this smooth feeling,” Halley said. “I like to incorporate that, and I can do that with house. House dance is a much more free-vibe style to me. I feel different vibes when I listen to the music. It makes me feel free. I can do whatever I want.”

To create this feeling of freedom within his dance classes, Halley choreographs on the spot, which he said makes the class more exciting. He said he looks to his students to interpret the moves, and incorporates their interpretations back into the choreography.

“No one is going to look the same doing house,” he said.  “You can’t. No matter who you are, you’ll always try to be the best you can be and you’ll always judge yourself based off what other people are doing. Everyone has something different to offer.”

Shannon Filmore, another instructor of the onC.U.E organization, teaches his own raw movement class, which moves away from concrete movement techniques like pointed toes and extensions. He said he wants the onC.U.E movement to continue to thrive with different dance styles.

“All of us have different things we are teaching … whether it is hip-hop, house, groove or more raw moves,” Filmore said. “We want to incorporate more than one type of mindset when it comes to dance. (We are) not creating the mindset of being the best, but just bringing something different out of people, a fun part of themselves.”

Filmore’s class is held every Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Sullivant Hall Room 250. Halley’s groove movement class is held every Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the same location. Pre-registration for the classes is $5 via the organization’s website or for a suggested donation of $6 to $10 at the door.

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