Hip-Hop at CWRU: Urban Elementz


Elaina Lin, Theatre and Dance Reporter

The music is loud, with footsteps stomping rhythmically in time to the beat. This is not your average workout routine. Here in the Veale multipurpose room, Urban Elementz is taking hold of the dance floor.


Started in 2006, Urban Elementz seeks to spread the art of hip-hop dance to the Case Western Reserve University’s community.


“There weren’t any clubs at Case Western at the time that focused on hip-hop styled dance,” Amy Van, secretary of Urban Elementz explained. “We’re just a group of people who come together…because we love dance. Although a lot of our members have background in ballet, modern, jazz, we do a lot of bringing other elements into hip-hop.”


Though it has only been a couple of years since the founding of the hip-hop dance club, there have been changes made to improve the dance experience on campus.


“We started this last year. We have famous professional choreographers come to Case and our practices to work with us as opened to the whole campus. That’s a big thing this year. We are bringing hip-hop to Cleveland,” Van enthusiastically shared.


Centering on hip-hop, dancers can learn anything from popping, wacking, tutting, to breakdancing. In addition, members learn new choreography each week. This allows individuals to choose whichever dance routine to their preference or taste.


Katy Fang, president of Urban Elementz, stated, “The thing about Urban Elementz is that we’re not just a club or organization. We’ve become more of a [dance] crew. In terms of the dynamics of dance, you’re tighter, like with your own group of friends.”


“Like a family,” Van added.


Urban Elementz isn’t just about sharing the dance experience, but is also about creating a dance community.


“I took modern dance in high school, but I was really interested in hip-hop. I thought this was a cool way to try out. I went to the SatCo and it was awesome,” freshman member Emily Luo said. “Urban is so much more than a club or dance group. We’re really just a big happy family. Joining Urban Elementz is a really fun way to pursue what you like.”


Anyone can join the hip-hop dance group anytime and start dancing right away.


Van elaborated, “Join Urban Elementz! It doesn’t matter if you never danced before. Most of us never took dance before coming to Case, except for maybe two people who have taken classes.”


For those who have had dance background, the group offers the chance to step it up and teach choreography instead of just learning it.


“I danced a little bit in high school,” senior member Allen Li, also a student dance instructor, said. “I love dancing and the people in it. Sometimes we make our own choreos and teach each other. One semester, I’ll probably teach two or three. Student instructors vary because anyone can teach. You can have your own choreo, and if you feel comfortable teaching it.”


Experience or no experience, Urban Elementz makes the dance experience speak to all comers.