Haluan performed at the 36th annual Multicultural Festival last Saturday. On May 23, the dance group will host “En Route: Urban Dance Showcase.” Photo by Stephen De Ropp.
Haluan performed at the 36th annual Multicultural Festival last Saturday. On May 23, the dance group will host “En Route: Urban Dance Showcase.” Photo by Stephen De Ropp.

When asked to describe urban dance — the style of dance Haluan performs — dance team coordinators Ray Chung and Adlina Basuki were at a loss for words.

Chung and Basuki, along with third-year Alexis Roney, coordinate the urban dance group at UC Santa Cruz housed under the Filipino Student Association (FSA). Chung, a fourth-year, and Basuki, a third-year, said urban dance is derived from breakdancing or B-boying, one of the four pillars of hip-hop culture that also includes emceeing, DJing and graffiti.

The movements in urban dance are more precise and controlled than those in hip-hop dance, Basuki said, but both styles are still dynamic and fluid.

“Urban dance, or hip-hop dance, is different from technical dance styles like ballet or modern dance, where you can call a move and everyone will understand what it means,” Basuki said. “It’s really difficult to try to explain which movements are common in this dance style, but it’s easier to watch and see what we’re saying.”

Haluan will host its first showcase, “En Route: Urban Dance Showcase” at the Cabrillo College Crocker Theater on May 23. Fifteen dance teams located throughout California will perform, traveling from cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Davis. The teams’ members of the visiting dance teams range in age from under 10 to 30 years old.

When the Haluan coordinators got together at the beginning of the school year, they started with the intention of hosting a showcase. They began planning last summer and hosted a fundraiser every other week to make it happen. Halfway through winter quarter, Chung said the showcase started to seem like a real possibility.

The group raised $6,000 through an online crowdfund and biweekly spam musubi and Krispy Kreme fundraisers. Three thousand dollars went to the venue, $2,000 went to merchandise and advertising and $700 went to venue insurance, an unexpectedly high cost.

Despite the high costs, Chung said Haluan wanted to put on a showcase and bring hip-hop and urban dance to Santa Cruz. To make the urban dance culture more accessible to the Santa Cruz community, Haluan is charging $10 less than the usual cost for the next closest showcase in the northern Bay Area.

En Route already has about 200 guaranteed attendees. Chung and Basuki both credited FSA for the success Haluan has had in advertising the event. As one of the largest ethnic organizations on campus, FSA has other creative groups that partake in a cappella, acting and ballroom dance. However, only about one-third of Haluan’s members are Filipino.

“We’re not even Filipino,” Basuki said, looking over Chung and shrugging her shoulders. “A lot of people join Haluan just to join hip-hop dance, but they become more connected to FSA and the Filipino culture through Haluan, whether they are ethnically Filipino or not.”

Because urban dance is a style that only recently emerged, Haluan has “hip-hop” in its name so more people know what it is. However, Chung said calling their style urban dance is much more accurate.

“Our goal for this was to get people exposed to [dance],” Chung said. “We all like dancing and we hope people like dancing as well. We want to help inspire people. A lot of people get into dancing just by watching it, so that’s a huge deal.”