Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sympoh's Break Dancing Symposium

On most Sunday nights, Sympoh, Princeton University’s own break dancing troupe, can be seen practicing their craft amid blasting music and a general feeling of relaxation and camaraderie.
“I love the feeling of relaxation and the feeling that you can just come in and do what you want,” said new Sympoh member Sabrina Siu ’13.
Break dancing is an inherently individual art and sport. The mental images that break dancing conjure, of people in a tight circle around one performer, are not far off; performances here at Princeton are staffed by anyone who gets on stage and has been to a practice session or two.
“Whoever can show up performs,” said Kohei Noda ’11, one of the presidents. “There are gigs throughout the year, in which everyone is invited to perform.”
The actual performances are similarly unregimented—there is no preset order.
“Whoever is feeling the music, or whoever wants to go in, goes in,” said Noda.
The actual group on campus is more of a cooperative than a group. The practices are essentially a chance to learn new moves from the more experienced dancers and to have an open forum for practicing the complex contortions involved in break dancing.
The rank-and-file members slowly walk anywhere from nine to ten at night (practice nominally begins at 9:00 pm), and after saying hi to a couple of people, start stretching and dancing. Head stands, spinning and stationary, and hand stands are just two of the unquantifiable moves that the group undertakes, with arms and legs moving in skewed directions all while maintaining a balanced rhythm.
Anyone is welcome to these practices according to Chisom (Mimi) Ohuoha ’11, the other president of Sympoh.
“My interest in break dancing was almost accidental. Kohei…let me know about the group’s spring try-outs. Once I made it into the group, and learned more about the dance and the culture, I found myself losing my initial flippant approach and now I’m pretty attached to it,” said Onuoha.
Despite the seeming informality of the group, their quality is undiminished, the constant scene of bouncing bodies attests to their skill.