Originally written for The Northern Light.
Within the Underground Dance Company studio, strobes of blue and purple hues of light illuminate the dance floor. Booming music fills the room while young dancers prepare for their dance battles. Jermine Bulaong and Ives Viray have been hosting Room 100 dance events for several years now, but this time they’ve included dance battles for children.
UDC is owned by Gabe Harvey, UAA alumnus and adjunct professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Harvey allowed Bulaong and Viray to host Room 100 in his studio since Viray taught lessons there.
Bulaong and Viray are dancers and co-hosts for Room 100, and originally hosted the monthly event at Express Studio, located downtown on Fourth Avenue, until recent renovations relocated the jams to UDC.
For Viray and Bulaong, dance has always been a part of their lives from a very young age. They have been friends since their early childhood and have danced and grown together ever since. During their early years, there wasn’t a scene where kids could participate and battle each other.
“It’s important to me because throughout all my experiences as a dancer, I believe you have to give back somehow. You can’t keep all your recognition and accomplishments to yourself. I think you should give it back in some way, shape or form,” Viray said.
During these dance battles, all the participants sign up for a specific battle and showcase their moves in front of their opponent(s). While they give it their all, three judges intently watch how they groove to the music and connect with their opponent.
“With this format for the battles, we want people to be more comfortable with other people instead of just coming in with their group of friends. We just want to have it be open. Everyone can dance. Everyone is accepted,” Bulaong said.
Christian Cadavos, a nursing major at UAA, has also been dancing at a young age. He’s attended and participated in Room 100 since 2013 and was a host for this month’s jam.
“For me personally, I just like to watch and cipher in dance circles and seeing new generations come by and express themselves at such a young age,” Cadavos said.
Cultivating the art form of dance with the younger generation attending these events helps the dance community flourish. Bruce Vang, social media and production manager of Room 100, likes being a part of the dance community and helping it grow.
“It’s nice having people to share something we love to do and also bringing it to life where people can actually enjoy it,” Vang said.
The Underground Dance Company is located at 701 W. 58th Ave. Room 100 takes place every month. All ages are welcome. To learn more about when the next event will take place, you can find their times on their official Facebook page.