The College’s best dance crews wow students

Quest Crew, along with No Mercy Step Company (pictured above) and Synergy Dance Company, performed for students in Kendall Hall on Thursday, April 21. (Kate Stronczer / Photo Assistant)

Season three champions of “America’s Best Dance Crew” teamed up with two local dance teams to treat the College to a showcase of multiple styles of dance last Thursday, April 21. Students filled Kendall Hall Main Stage Theatre to watch Quest Crew, No Mercy Step Company and the College’s own Synergy Dance Company.

Synergy opened with a trio of hip-hop infused dance numbers, ending with a number in tattered clothes reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

New Jersey’s native No Mercy Step Company had a loyal fan base at the College, which was made known the second they hit the stage. The all-male group dressed in long, white coats and used audio to simulate a hospital. While they went through the most technical difficulties, the raw energy of their acrobatics and stepping  quickly overshadowed the setbacks. They also incorporated comedy into the routine, lip syncing to Shyne’s “If I Ever Fall in Love.”

The most captivating aspect of No Mercy’s performance was their intricate rhythm, all produced by stomping and clapping. At the end, they invited brothers from the College’s chapter of Phi Beta Sigma to join them in a dance through the aisles of Kendall and out into the lobby.

After the warm-up by the two teams before them, Quest Crew didn’t disappoint its expectant and loud fanbase. Rather than introduce themselves, Quest Crew opened with an explosive dance number, one much longer than seen on “America’s Best Dance Crew” years ago. From isolations to traditional b-boy moves and of course, risky tricks, Quest Crew was sure to remind attendees that they were season-three champions for a reason.

“We didn’t even think we’d win,” said Danny Ryan, a member of Quest Crew, in an interview before the show.

To those unfamiliar with Quest Crew, the group is comprised of eight members: seven spiky-haired guys and one girl, Lydia Paek. All eight were in attendance, but performed the opening number without Hokuto “Hok” Konishi, a member most known for his British accent. He had injured himself and could not perform in the opener. However, Konishi hopped out on crutches to do a playful solo routine in a chair. Drawing on the audience’s imagination, he used his hands and facial expression to tell a story from the edge of his seat.

Now that “America’s Best Dance Crew” is being played in multiple countries, Quest Crew’s fanbase has allowed them to travel internationally. Konishi was recently surprised during a show in China by a famous pop star who had heard that he was a fan of hers. The television show had brought her on to sing to him.

Exposure to other famous crews and celebrities is part of their daily lives in California.

While the crew members are now full-time, many of them used to have day jobs.

“I had a nine-to-five job,” Ryan Feng said. “I used to work eight hours then I would go straight to rehearsal and dance for eight hours. It’s nice to not have to work those first eight hours anymore.”

Now the crew spends most of its time performing at colleges and benefit concerts. They’ve made many TV appearances and even a cameo in the latest “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie. With multiple hard-hitting performances and rehearsals, injuries are almost guaranteed.

When asked about Konishi’s injury, other members of the crew recalled their own scary injuries.

“I hit my head during a performance at UMass last month,” Ryan said. “I finished the show just fine, but I basically blacked out and couldn’t remember in the dressing room if we had already performed or not. Of course the guys taped me acting weird.”

Their character and charisma made their final performance of the night that much more electric, as they chose to individually freestyle. However, when they invited No Mercy Step Company, it spurred them to welcome students from the audience to rush up to the stage as well in a moment of absolute pandemonium.

A large semi-circle of dancers from all disciplines freestyled to instrumental music, showcasing their talents for those students unlucky enough to join them. At that point, it didn’t seem to matter who was in a crew, or who was famous, only that everyone was exercising their right to express themselves through dance and music.

In an interview, the group advised their fans to never give up.

“Yeah,” Konishi added. “If you give up, you’re running away from the dream. It’s not running away from you.”

Quest Crew is returning to California for more performances and are currently working on a 90-minute production to tour the country.

For more information on Quest Crew and their upcoming performances, check out their website at questcrew.com.