By Mell Chhoy
Common Origins, one of the largest student run dance groups on campus, hosted its big annual showcase: Breaking Ground, which not only features Common Origins, but also dance numbers from all sorts of Stanford and Stanford-affiliated dance groups. Common Origins was founded seven years ago as Stanford’s only non-audition, all inclusive hip-hop/urban dance team. The first performance of Breaking Ground occurred the next year. Since its conception, Breaking Ground has been the biggest dance show of the past quarter, becoming an opportunity for many other up-and-coming dance groups to also perform and showcase their talent.
Breaking Ground 2017 was held in Dinkelspiel Auditorium at the end of the last quarter. The show had a Harry Potter theme, featuring two acts from Common Origins depicting interpretations of scenes from the Harry Potter franchise. Common Origins co-presidents Kristy Duong ‘19 and Nathan Lee PhD ‘19 played Harry Potter and his enemy, Voldemort, respectively. The show also featured two emcees, former Common Origin members: Felipe Chen M.S. ‘17 and Crystal Tjoa B.S. ‘17 M.S. ‘18, who played Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
Other than Common Origins, many different dance groups also performed. There were performances from the newest groups like Off-Top and Legacy as well as pieces from the older groups like Alliance, Dv8 and HD Crew. In addition to hip hop, different styles like lyrical, K-Pop, and cultural dance were showcased by Urban Styles, XTRM and Eclipse, and Bhangra and Kayumanggi.
Thanks to being friends with one of Common Origin’s co-presidents, Kristy Duong ‘19, I got the chance to see the tail end of the tech run-through and watch the Common Origins co-presidents in action as well as watch the different dance groups run tech on stage. Despite prior experience with student performances, I was once again awestruck with the professionalism of Stanford student performers. Duong and Lee ran a tight tech run-through, shouting time and working with the lighting and sound directors. The different dance groups were quick to address any problems and corrections.
Breaking Ground is worth seeing every year, and I think a lot of the audience members would agree. There was a packed house with plenty of people willing to stand in the back just to see their friends and peers perform. The audience was constantly yelling and cheering, which I will admit that I did too.
Every aspect of Breaking Ground was superb. The emcees were a delight. They were clever and amusing, with cringy puns and references to the Harry Potter franchise throughout the night. The performances by Common Origins featured interesting storylines and good, clean choreography. The pieces were riveting and quirky and the performances were usually pretty clean. In the words of my brother, who is the dancer in my family, each performance was “en pointe.”
If you missed out on Breaking Ground this year, mark your calendar to see it next year. If you have any interest in dance, join Common Origins, attend their workshops or audition for any of the dance groups that catch your fancy.
Contact Mell Chhoy at mchhoy ‘at’ stanford.edu.