But once KM Legacy froze on the last beat of the night, the real drama started to unfold. KM Legacy was only present as an exhibition team and while it was performing, the judges were turning in their scores on the 10 competing teams that battled for the Vibe XIV title.
As the trophies made their way to the Bren Events Center stage, so did the competing dance crews. Among them were the three Irvine teams in the competition: Chinese Association Dance Crew (CADC), Kaba Modern and Common Ground. The dancers huddled around the host on stage, locked in anticipation. Once the announcement was made that Team Millenia was third and Choreo Cookies was second, a realization hit the arena: one of the UC Irvine teams was going to take home the victory.
Common Ground was the underdog of the UCI crews but dissipated that title after its performance. In the last part of a clean performance, it put together an emotionally driven set of choreography to a hip-hop version of The Fray’s, “How to Save a Life.” As the music grew with passion, so did Common Ground with the crowd right on its heels. With choreography that could stand up to anyone in the competition, the group had a shot at the title, but a few minor inconsistencies made them a long shot.
The most recognized crew of the night, Kaba Modern, was in contention before the night even started, and that held true after the crew put it down on stage. The group opened with a ’70s groove of high-tempo choreography that bled with energy. The entire set featured incomparable precision that lived up to its reputation. Kaba’s ability to be perfect in its blocks and stay in sync with its “whacks” and isolations at such a high tempo was unmatched. However, Kaba Modern’s focus on staying precise with detailed choreography put it at a disadvantage at Vibe. Any dancer can fully appreciate the intricate elements Kaba “smoothes” into its routine, but at Vibe XIV, its routine lacked a big moment or crowd-pleasing punch that other teams banked on.
One team that used those big- move combinations was the third UCI team in the running for the title, CADC. The team had the crowd’s support from the first minute of its performance and did not let it go. With gold jackets on the guys and gold suspenders on the girls, its flowing choreography popped and flashed brilliant gold across the stage. At one point, it had two towers of dancers, creating a six-armed giant that popped to the crowd’s outburst of “whoas!” The heart-pounding energy of CADC received the greatest amount of noise from the crowd throughout the entire night. It was no doubt that it had the love of the spectators, but the question still remained: Who had the love of the judges?
The host milked the suspense for a moment then belted out the result: CADC had won Vibe XIV. The gold jackets were now flying off. The members of the winning group had the crowd pulling for them, and the other crews on stage had to give it up to the new champions. They united personality, fluid combinations and a space-aged concept with a whole lot of love and came out with a title.
“It’s a little redemption,” said senior dancer Mark Romain. “In my four years here at Vibe we have not even placed. So tonight is not really about winning; it is about being recognized by our peers here at UCI. So for us to hold it down on our own stage feels amazing.”
CADC only recruits out of UCI and is constantly battling to gain recognition within a community that is heavily saturated with talented crews at UCI. Its win at Vibe has now established it as one of, if not the top team on campus. Its execution was spotless, but its preparation and choreography is what placed the group at the top.
“Usually we do a story line, but we decided to retire our prelude set and got these gold jackets from our seniors last year and just wanted to have fun,” Romain said.
It worked. The gold jackets were bold. Its closing piece to Christina Aguilera’s “Come on Over” was fierce. But more than anything, everyone in the building saw how much fun CADC was having on stage.
But the stage was only half of the story at Vibe. The crowd was hyped the entire night and any move that deserved an “ooh” or “ahh” got it. From the self-proclaimed “pre-show champs,” MCIA, stomping to Akon or KM Legacy’s picture perfect sequence to The Postal Service, the crowd gave it up to the dancers. Lamba Theta Delta put together a very well-organized and successful show.
“Standards for dancing have just gone beyond and beyond. It is crazy these days,” said Kaba Modern senior dancer Andrew Symbol. “But Irvine is just crazy. This is dance central. We have a bunch of dancers out here that have that passion and drive. It is amazing to see all the people out here showing support.”
The competition will be back next year and will most likely put together an even bigger show than this year’s blowout success.
Filed Under: A & E