New dance crew emerges at Gettysburg; takes spotlight at annual student showcase

Michael Deleon '18 is the founder and captain of the new dance group VIBE. Photo courtesy of gettysburg.edu

Michael Deleon ’18 is the founder and captain of the new dance group VIBE. Photo courtesy of gettysburg.edu

By Raichl Davenport, A&E Editor

This week Michael Deleon ‘18, founder and captain of Gettysburg College’s newest dance troupe VIBE, sat down with The Gettysburgian for a one-on-one interview.

RD: “When and why was VIBE started?”

MD: “I have been dancing since I was a child. I never took any classes or got any formal training. I just danced at parties and school dances. When I was applying to colleges, I was looking at any dance programs the schools offered because I knew that I wanted to continue dancing wherever I went. When I decided to come to Gettysburg College last fall, I did it knowing that I wanted to join B.O.M.B. Squad. After watching videos of their performances and meeting some of their dancers at Get Acquainted Day, I was positive that I was going to audition for the team. Following my audition I was confident that I would be offered a spot on B.O.M.B. Squad. Then I received an email informing me that I did not make the cut. I was devastated, and, to be completely honest, I was bitter about the outcome. It was not until the spring semester of my first year that I let go of those feelings and channeled them into something positive by starting my own dance team: VIBE.”

RD: “Why the name VIBE?”

MD: “Brainstorming a name for the team was very stressful because it would be the team’s brand for the years to come. I needed a name that captured people’s attention, but I also wanted the name to mean something. The name VIBE came up in a conversation I was having with my mentor. The name is powerful in a more subtle way, which I love. It means vibration, sensation and feeling, which is what VIBE is all about. The various dance genres VIBE appeals to and the themes of each performance evoke an array of emotions. The name VIBE sneaks up on you, and that’s exactly what we will do. No one will see us coming, but once we do, you will not be ready.”

RD: “What type of dance do you do?”

MD: “VIBE is a fusion dance group, which is a name I came up with myself. Fusion means a mixture of several types of music: hip hop, reggae, derivative forms of reggae, contemporary and African. The list may be extended to include other types of dance. There are no boundaries or limits to what we can do. We want to appeal to different audiences, not just those we are most comfortable with.”

RD: “How are dancers picked?”

MD: “When I first started VIBE, I did so with the assistance of my best friend from middle school, Chentese Stewart-Garner, who is the current Vice President of VIBE. Chentese was on board from the very start to be a part of VIBE. I reached out to three other friends on the Gettysburg African Student Association (GASA) Dance Team, and they joined the team in March. I asked another friend that knew how to dance to join the team, bringing us to five dancers, including myself. This semester, VIBE held auditions for the first time and gained four new dancers. Now our team has a total of seven members (not including myself): Lauren “Lala” Bradford ‘18, Taylor Caesar ‘19, Kayla Cooper ‘18, Kira Mason ‘16, Ashley McNeil ‘17, Justina Molowku ‘17 and Chentese Stewart-Garner ‘18.”

RD: “Tell me about past performances.”

MD: “VIBE has only performed twice on campus so far. The first time we performed was at the Dance Ensemble Spring Showcase last April. We did not have a reserved space for rehearsing as a new, unrecognized group on campus, so we would practice almost every night leading up to this performance in classrooms and in Plank Gym. The second time was at the Family Weekend Student Showcase during Family Weekend. The theme of this performance was Crazed Youth, and we dressed in mismatch, colorful clothing. The performance began with us singing the nursery rhyme ‘Ring Around the Rosie.’ Throughout the performance we played childlike characters and danced to upbeat songs that complimented our characters.”

RD: “Where do you see VIBE going? What are your goals for VIBE?”

MD: “I see Vibe becoming the greatest and most innovative dance group Gettysburg has ever seen. VIBE is different from other dance groups in the fact that we dance to more than one genre of music, keep our group small so everyone has a chance to shine and have different themes for each performance. No performance by VIBE will be similar to that of another group or any previous performance by VIBE. I am going to change the game with VIBE. VIBE will become that dance group on campus that everyone is talking about. VIBE will be my legacy here at Gettysburg.”

RD: “Is there any rivalry between VIBE and B.O.M.B. Squad?”

MD: “I laugh at this question because I so often hear comparisons of the two dance groups. The fact of the matter is, B.O.M.B. Squad and VIBE are very different in so many respects. Of course, there is bound to be talk about a rivalry when the established dance group on campus is challenged by the arrival of another dance group. I will say right now that there is no rivalry between B.O.M.B. Squad and VIBE. I am good friends the Co-Captains of B.O.M.B. Squad, and we are even planning on collaborating for an event in the spring. I assure everyone that there is no bad blood between the two groups. I will say, though, B.O.M.B. Squad has been regarded as the must-see dance group on campus for years, but now that VIBE is on the rise, we will not settle for a spot below any group. It is just a matter of time that VIBE secures its spot at the top. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little competition, right?”

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