Ohio State’s Stylez Dance Group brings more than just typical hip-hop to the dance floor. The members, some with formal training and some without, bring hard work, dedication and love for one thing: different styles of dance.
“Stylez is just a group of students who come together to show their passion for dance, whether that comes from a trained background in dance or nothing at all,” said Hannah Renollet, president and a fourth-year in human development and family science.
Throughout the school year, Stylez has performed at multiple events around campus, such as Buckeyethon, the Women’s Glee Club Talent Show and the Ohio Union’s birthday party.
Saturday, the group’s 10 members will perform at the 5th Annual Midwest Mix Up, a dance competition for teams from throughout the country, in the Ohio Union’s Grand Ballroom at 5:30 p.m.
Stylez has competed all five years in the Midwest Mix Up with scores including second place in 2008 to fourth place in 2010. But this year the team has one goal: make it to the final round.
“When you don’t make it past the first round, you don’t get to show everything you’ve worked on, which in our opinion is really the ultimate goal,” Renollet said. “That’s all we really want to do, we want to show how hard we’ve worked.”
The Midwest Mix Up has two different rounds: freestyle and themed. The freestyle round “is when you can do a different variety of dances,” said Megan Placko, vice president and a third-year in pharmacy. This round is the main chance for the teams to show off their own creativity and incorporation of all kinds of dance, which Stylez is most excited to perform.
“We’re doing pointe (this year), like ballet pointe, and then it goes into hip-hop and krumping. In the past we’ve done stepping and lyrical,” Placko said.
Krumping is a street style, energetic dance, Renollet said.
While most of the competition is hip-hop, the Stylez group makes sure to showcase the strengths of all the members.
“For instance, one girl can tumble so we really showcase that, and if you’re really good at turns and leaps, we’ll also showcase that. If you can’t do a lot of the ballet moves, then we’ll have you do more hard hitting moves like krumping or popping and locking,” Placko said. “So then everyone gets to show off their best qualities in dance.”
The 2011 Stylez team competes with 10 members.
Membership varies from year to year and clinics are held throughout the second week of classes in Fall and Winter Quarter, concluding with tryouts at the end of the second week.
Devon Schniegenberg, a second-year in human development and family science, joined Stylez in Fall Quarter and said she was amazed at the bond the team formed with one another.
“We all get along so well. They’re not just my dance team, but they’re my close friends,” Schniegenberg said. “And they’re not just there for dance practice, but they’re there for me all of the time.”
Between long, late night practices and cleaning up the Schottenstein Center for costumes funds, the members of Stylez Dance Group said they hope their dedication and hard work show at the competition on Saturday evening.
“It’s getting down to crunch time so everyone is starting to get nervous, but I just want everyone to do well,” Renollet said. “As long as we’re happy with ourselves, that’s all I care about. Everyone’s come such a long way.”