LIVE Dance Crew: The Grassroots Dance Team For All Students

St. John’s University’s student-run hip hop dance team describes what makes their club special.

Photo Courtesy / Melany Guzman

Love, individuality, versatility and expression. All are words that describe the dedicated dancers of LIVE Dance Crew — a student-run dance team at St. John’s University that allows students to explore their passion for dance. 

“LIVE Dance Crew is a hip-hop dance team primarily, but we are a very diverse organization and occasionally branch out to different forms of dance,” said captain Christel Wanchope. While the program is fun, Wanchope said members still try to take dancing very seriously. “We have a dance contract, which outlines the responsibilities for each member.”

St. John’s does have an official dance team, but accessibility sets LIVE apart, according to Wanchope. 

“We have a lot of dancers from different backgrounds — people who haven’t danced before or only know one form of dance,” Wanchope. “During auditions, we look for a lot of potential in dancers even if they don’t have a lot of experience. They can come here to learn hip hop.” 

The Dance Crew practices in the Donovan Community Room, where they have been preparing for their upcoming showcase by creating new choreography and practicing constantly to perfect their routine.

“Typically we have captains make choreo[graphy] here, but every practice in the spring we like to have dancers try to choreograph so we can get an idea of captains for the next year,” said Wanchope. The group will also be performing at Stormin’ Loud on April 28.

Senior dance captain Danielle Myers explained what it was like to be a part of the team as a captain during the peak of COVID. 

“I became dance captain the first year during the pandemic and it was difficult to find motivation to dance virtually, but I learned to adapt and be confident to be able to lead the team,” Myers said. “LIVE had to practice virtually during this time, and the adversity of expression through a computer screen was evident.

L.I.V.E. Dance Crew performing at Stormin’ Loud 2022.
TORCH PHOTO / Sara Kiernan

Myers, alongside the co-captain Jenna Charles, has been on the team since her freshman year. Charles described her experience and duties as captain, saying that “we basically run practice.”

“We do all of the scheduling, create all of the mixes, get the choreography in order and serve as big sisters for the team,” Myers added. The captains are clear leaders of the team, and it is obvious in practice how each member encourages one another to be their best and perform as best as possible.

Positivity and enthusiasm was overwhelming in the organization. “I love how everyone here is very unique and that they all share the same passion as me — which is dance,” said Jaylah Kendall, a junior in LIVE. “Everyone is so friendly — we’re like one big family. I am able to comfortably express myself here, and I can definitely say that I improved a lot dancing-wise.”

“I joined LIVE because I’ve been dancing for a while, and I wanted to continue in college,” said sophomore Sierra Casey. “I love this team because I have met some of my best friends and dancing with them is always a good time!”

Currently, the LIVE Dance Crew is working on the LIVE showcase for April 30. “It’s a chance for members to choreograph their own dances,” said Wanchope. Check out their Instagram to stay updated on events and performances.

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