Hip-hop music and loud screams resonated through the third floor of the Mesa parking structure as UCI dance team Common Ground held auditions on Oct. 11, 2009.
On the day of the audition, freshman Kat Maribao, wore her workout clothes: black shirt and black shorts, a pair of mid-length socks with red stripes and a pair of classic Nike shoes. She clipped her bangs back but allowed some of her small, dark curls to fall over her shoulders.
At each round of the audition, Big D, one of the Common Ground judges of the night, would call out groups of four to five people to go up and audition. This was their moment to show the judges how they had mastered the dance moves in one short week.
Once the music started playing, the dancers’ eyes lit up. All of them went wild to the beat of the song. With swift, graceful movements, the dancers on stage were determined to show off their skills.
After approximately six rounds of auditioning, emcee Big D called the number 14: Kat’s number. Despite the fact that she was the most petite among her audition group, Kat showed no signs of timidity. She danced smoothly and confidently. Not only did her body motions exude passion, but her facial expression also emanated joy – especially when she incorporated a playful air kiss into one of her dance moves.
During an impromptu session, while the other two girls in her audition group just kept it loose, Kat made her signature move – pelvic thrusting – about which she later spoke happily.
“I might not have a lot of skills, but I do have my silliness and humor in me,” Kat said. “It’s different doing the dance in class and performing it in front of everyone. It feels really good performing.”
When asked what she would do if she weren’t accepted by Common Ground, Kat shrugged.
“I’d probably just keep dancing,” she said.
Since high school, Kat Maribao has been dancing at the dance studio called Shock in San Diego. Being on a dance team at UC Irvine was something that Kat had always envisioned for her college life.
Kat did not have to worry about not being accepted for long, because she got a call that same night at three a.m., telling her that she had passed through the audition and was accepted into the next round of audition process, which is the interview.
With sparkly purple eye shadow, gold dangling earrings and an elegant satin black dress, Kat looked gorgeous on the day of the interview. Despite the fact that she was feeling sick, Kat was nonchalant and calm as she was waiting for the interview to start. Dan Pham, the assistant coordinator said Common Ground (CG) was not just looking for talent, but attitude, character and chemistry.
Kat figured that she would just be herself during the interview.
“If they like me for who I am, that’s good. If they don’t, then I wouldn’t have fun even if I got on the team,” Kat said.
For the interview process, CG captain Andy separated the interviewees into five different groups, in which they had to alternate among three different classrooms: the regulations room, the commitment room, and the question and answer room.
In the commitment room, Kat shared stories about her sickness, lupus, which was an autoimmune disease that caused her to feel tired easily.
In the end, Kat made it on the final roster of Common Ground.
Andy, the captain, said that since the first audition, the board members of Common Ground had decided that among all the other girls, Kat was able to execute the choreography decently. Although they saw that there was room for improvements, they thought that they could mold her and make her a better dancer. Andy also believed that Kat would fit in well with the team, which values close bonding among team members.
Now, every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m, Kat practices at the Mesa parking structure with other CG team members. The Mesa parking structure has become a second home for this family of energetic and passionate dancers. Kat Maribao is happy to be one of them.
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