SAN FRANCISCO – A small contingent of the hip-hop dance group APT that consists of 30 plus dancers between the ages of 11 to 20-years-old performed their dance “Unsteady” recently at the annual Producing Our Power” show at San Francisco State University.
And these young performers say they relate to the dance because it gives them a chance to tell their own stories.
19-year-old Jordan Defiesta described the piece, “Just running, like making sure you’re running with the people that are there for you you’re always going to run to them you’re always going to be there whenever they’re in need and that’s our opportunity to grow as dancers.”
19-year-old Devon Stone Johnson said, “It separate us from other dance teams because we don’t just dance. We’re dancing and we’re also putting emotion into it and those can be separate things and it’s easy to make it like that but it’s a lot harder to put it together.”
APT is short for apprentice. The group is based out of the Westlake School of Performing Arts in Daly City, CA and its members say they pride themselves on honestly expressing themselves through their passion for hip-hop.
17-year-old Marina Cotton said, “I think our stories, for each person I know it’s very different whether it be very personal or whether it be something very small but I think as a whole we want to show our love for dance and just how much we want to contribute to the dance community.”
Johnson adds, “We just had to make ourselves vulnerable to be able to learn and to be able to take stuff in and put stuff out there without being scared.”
These dancers say they also enjoy performing because of the safe space it provides.
“Regardless of whatever problems we do have we always come to the studio and that’s like our escape,” said Defiesta. “Whether it be an hour or whether it be four hours it’s just our escape for us to be who we want to be and express what goes on in our mind and what goes on in our life and how we can relate it through dance. It’s all community based.”
This same dance piece also received the overall high score in the senior division, senior critics’ choice, and was the judge’s pick as the encore performance during the New York City Dance Alliance Regional in Santa Clara.
And so APT earned their spot to not only compete at the New York City Dance Alliance National Finale but also to attend workshops, auditions, and earn scholarships.
A Gofundme account has been set up to help the kids get to New York for the competition.
So far, over $3,000 dollars has been raised out of the $20,000 goal.