3rd Annual Bison Stomp Out Classic hosted by ACE and BSU

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Get hyped! Or, well, maybe you should have been hyped. Phunk Phenomenon was here at Bucknell University last week, and it was probably one of the most groundbreaking things to happen since sliced bread. I would say to go to Weis, but the floor got so cut up after their performance. Now that’s good bread. Phunk Phenomenon has insane choreo set to beats just as astounding.  What makes Phunk Phenomenon even better is their drive for philanthropic/charity work like working to raise awareness for San Filippo syndrome. This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to interview the crew and their manager.

While bringing together a mix of urban, house, and traditional dance styles just to name a few, the crew is heavily influenced by the music they dance to. There is no particular type of music they dance to because it’s not what they’re about.  They use all kinds of beats to their advantage in order to provide entertainment with as many dance forms as possible while keeping a foundation in hip-hop. Plus, the way they go about their choreo is never the same. “Sometimes the choreographers can make a dance and then choose a song for it or they find a song to choreograph first,” says one of the members.

On their experience at Bucknell, the entire group raved about the amazing environment and people they got work with. “The hospitality here has been great and everyone’s been so welcoming.”

On his experience working with Phunk Phenomenon, Anthony Le (’16) had this to say: "I had an amazing experience working with Phunk Phenomenon. It was great to work with artists like these. It meant a lot working with them, being from Boston too… and they said ‘You’re part of the family’ and it was just great.” The great thing is that they said they like it here so much that they would love to come back. Something to tease you guys with…

Like I said before, the group strives to do a lot of charity work for organizations like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, AIDS Walk Boston, and the Special Olympics. The main cause that they work for is Jared’s Fight, in the search for better treatment and a cure for Sanfilippo syndrome. You can find out more about this condition at http://www.jaredsfight.org/.

Phunk Phenomenon doesn’t only have dance as their main asset. They have a kick@$$ beatboxer who hyped up the crowd like no one else could. This dude is an entire sound system on his own, and he had us all hooked on the first loop.  Also, they’re a team made up of parents, students, professionals, and others who make for a diverse range of stories and backgrounds in the group.

When asked about the style they are dancing in now, they said they don’t like to be defined by any certain style or trend at the time. They said while hip-hop is going back to a lot of structured choreo rather than freestyle, they like to do their own thing. However, they like to keep going back to the foundations and then bring in other choreographers to do focused workshops on other styles. Hip-hop is always evolving and so are they.

Earlier in the day, they hosted a workshop open to everyone on campus. One of the members running the workshop said that the best part of doing workshops like these is the “different levels of experience… you get to see how everybody takes to the same choreo differently. It’s a refreshing perspective.”

When talking with their manager, he remarked on how these kinds of experiences for the group are so great for them. He said that, oftentimes, the crew doesn’t get time to spend with each other due their busy personal lives and then on days when they have rigorous practice until 11PM; they all have to rest and go back to the daily grind outside of Phunk Phenomenon. At events like these, they get the time to eat and spend time bonding after their performances and workshops and as well as when they are on the road or in their temporary living quarters which helps keep them the happy, awesome dancing family they are.

One of the first-season members of the group remarked how his relationship with the group has been so far. “There are a lot of different personalities in the group, one minute we could be hating each other and the next we’re all best friends again. Of course the dancing is hard but it’s fun... We’re a family.”

Phunk Phenomenon’s performance at the 3rd Annual Bison Stomp Out Classic was phenomenal, to say the least. Ranging all the way from difficult, fast, and impressive choreo to breakdancing to voguing (which I was particularly excited to see. I had just learned about it in my queer studies class and its roots and it was exciting to see the dance form out of its heteronormative environment) the performance didn’t let up for even a second from when it began.

Hopefully we get to see Phunk Phenomenon around next year the 4th Annual Bison Stomp Out Classic and then you all can see for yourself the one-of-a-kind Phunk Phenomenon. Check out their website at http://phunkphenomenon.com/.

Keep your eyes and ears open,

Marcus Schenck