Wittenberg’s dance competition highlights best of Black dance culture, artistic excellence

The Dance Stomp Shake part of Black History Month celebration.

Wittenberg University’s dance competition, part of its Black History Month celebration, brought in 1,350 spectators.

The “Dance Stomp Shake” competition was hosted by Julius Bailey, professor of philosophy, on Feb. 27 in the Kuss Auditorium at Clark State College’s Performing Arts Center.

“We are grateful to the staff at the Kuss who tried their best to accommodate this unique style of show,” Bailey said. “We were able to double our attendance of our 2020 show because of sponsors who believe in young people and Black cultural expression.”

The dance show and competition included 12 teams composed of 357 total dancers from seven cities and three states, as well as a showcase performed by members of the Springfield High School dance team.

The competition was to highlight the best of Black Dance Culture and the artistic excellence of young people, Bailey said.

“Throughout the night, dance teams displayed flips, splits, back-bends, artistic choreography and even basketball skills as they wowed the crowed,” Bailey said.

The teams included: the Springfield High School dance team, Black Diamonds from Springfield, UD dance team from Dayton, Funklab from Kettering, 3-D from Cincinnati, Next Level Dance from Cincinnati, Black Pearlz from Columbus, Optimistic Ladies of Columbus, Epitome of Dance from Columbus, Tru Kingdom Megacrew from Columbus, Returning Champions Levitate from Cleveland, Sudden Death Crew from Hampton, Stylez Dance from Ohio State, and Sweatshop Crew from Racine, Wisconsin.

The teams competed for five categories, including Advanced and Intermediate Hip Hop, Creative Majorette, “Mini” Stand Battle (ages 5-11), and Jr./Sr. Stand Battle (ages 12-17).

Over $4,200 in prizes were given to the winners of each category who received a check from a local sponsor, including Clark State, the Springfield Foundation, Park National Bank, White-Allen Chevy, and Wright and Schulte Law Firm.

The winning teams of each category included:

  • Hip Hop Advanced: Levitated (Cleveland) - $1,000
  • Hip Hop Intermediate: Sudden Death (Richmond, VA) - $500
  • Creative Majorette: Black Pearlz (Columbus) - $1,000
  • Mini Stand Battle: Black Pearlz (Columbus) - $250
  • Jr./Sr. Stand Battle: Epitome of Dance (Columbus) - $500

The remaining prize money went to second place winners:

  • Hip Hop Advanced: Sudden Death (Hampton, VA) - $250
  • Hip Hip Intermediate: University of Dayton Dance Team - $250
  • Creative Majorette: Epitome of Dance (Columbus) - $250
  • Mini Stand Battle: Black Diamonds (Springfield)
  • Jr./Sr. Stand Battle: Black Pearlz

Bailey said it’s possible to have this dance show next year as well, but it depends on sponsors and partners.

“The demand is most assuredly there for this and other dance shows. White Allen Chevy has already expressed interest in two more years of guaranteed support,” he said. “Now if we can convince Clark State, Wittenberg University to join on again, as well as the host of other community partners, I am certain this can become one of the featured annual events of Springfield.”

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