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The Daily Tar Heel

Moonlight Hip Hop Dance Crew gets down in the Pit

The UNC Moonlight Hip Hop Dance Crew frequently performs on Friday evenings in the Pit. Courtesy of Kaitlin Barker. 

The UNC Moonlight Hip Hop Dance Crew frequently performs on Friday evenings in the Pit. Courtesy of Kaitlin Barker. 

Founded in 2010, the Moonlight Dance Crew has made it their mission to create a free, safe space for dancers of any experience level to come out and hone their craft. The dance crew holds an open audition in the beginning of both fall and spring semesters. Next semester, spring auditions begin Monday, Jan. 13 and go through Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Dancers will learn choreography on the first day, review the dance on the second day and finally participate in tryouts on the last day.

Li Zhang, senior and director of Moonlight Hip Hop Dance Crew, said the group’s style is hip-hop with an urban twist.

“It started out within the hip-hop vein, and we’re still hip-hop, but I would say we’re more urban fusion now,” she said.

The dance crew performs frequently around the campus for different charity events, as well as across the East Coast at major dance competitions. The dance crew’s two major events of the year include Journey Into Asia, hosted by the Asian Students Association, and the Prelude Carolinas Urban Dance Competition.

They also hold their own showcase in the spring. The turnout can range anywhere from 20 to 30 people at a Pit performance to a few hundred at events or competitions.

Open classes and workshops are also held sporadically throughout the semester. No dance experience is required and the date, time and location are posted on the group’s Facebook page weekly.

Moonlight’s Assistant Director Nikolaus Gunawan said he was interested in dance in high school, but wasn’t very comfortable with himself and how he danced coming into college. He found the Moonlight Hip Hop Dance Crew through a dance interest meeting his first semester and said he’s very grateful for it.

“I’m happy to have found a place that focuses on not being a perfect dancer,” he said. “There’s also that family aspect where the people actually want to hang out with you.”

Sophomore Christine Zimmerman said she enjoyed attending one of their performances.

“I went to one of their performances last semester, and they performed, and they were really good,” she said.

Zhang said the Moonlight Hip Hop Dance Crew focuses on personal growth as well.

“Moonlight Dance Crew is mainly focused on growth, so we take in a lot of newer and inexperienced dancers who want to explore and grow in dance, but we also believe that dance also helps people grow as people,” she said.

“We’re not just a team that dances together, but we eat together, we study together, we hang out together.”

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