Raw Elementz power stance

If you didn’t make it to last night’s Rawcus 360, you really missed out on a supremely lit evening. Although this was a one-off and one-of-a-kind performance, Bwog writer Gabrielle Kloppers is here to give you all the details.

On campus this week, you could not have missed the hype about Raw Elementz and Rawcus 360. Raw Elementz is probably one of Columbia’s most prized performance group, and their performances always bring out record-breaking crowds. Last night’s Rawcus 360 was no different. Raw Elementz is truly a unique group, which explains the extent of their appeal to the Columbia community. Although they call themselves a “hip-hop dance crew,” their signature style tends to go far beyond this, with members bringing intimate knowledge of other dance styles to freshen it up and lend them a distinct appeal to the audience. This was in full evidence last night, when Raw’s mastery set the crowd into a frenzy. Beyond Raw Elementz, Rawcus also featured performances by Voltage, Onyx, Venom, CU Generation, and Party//of//Two, an offshoot of Thou Shalt Not, who played Bacchanal this year as the student opener.

Party//of//Two hyped up the audience to the perfect degree, and it is certain that nobody could match Vanessa Chadehumbe’s infectious energy. After their performance at Bacchanal, everyone was acquainted with the duo and willing to play along. This was especially important to the premise of the show, which was uniquely defined by the 360 stage. This allowed increased interaction with the audience, but also meant that each group had to adapt its choreography to the unique space. Some groups accomplished this better than others. Raw Elementz themselves made the set-up a boon to their choreography and allowed it to push them to increased movement around the stage that kept each number extremely unique and charismatic.

Although Raw Elementz was the shining star of this performance, the groups chosen to support them, and provide time for them to change and rest between numbers, were adept at engaging the very large audience. Voltage at first seemed a little out of place, and initially didn’t engage with the 360 stage, simply staying put in two lines for the beginning of the performance. However, as its number reached its crescendo, Voltage started whirling around the stage like dervishes, highlighting how immense the group’s skills must be in order to be able to keep perfectly on beat yet also engage the audience visually.

CU Generation also stood out to me, particularly because its style has progressed significantly since I started following the group. Rather than sticking to a traditional K-pop dance style, Generation has started to incorporate other styles into its performances, most notably increasing the focus on hip-hop styles. This artistic move comes at an interesting turning point for K-pop in general, as currently the K-pop community is also turning increasingly towards hip-hop styles. It was interesting to see how Generation interpreted this shift and made it applicable to the Columbia community.

The standout number of the night, for me, was the third number by Raw Elementz. This number used music I largely associated with middle school, and seemed to harken back to the “Step Up” days with choreography that ended up splitting the group into three sections, with each dancing towards one another, evoking to me an old school dance battle. This was certainly intentional, as Raw Elementz president Kevin hoped that listening to these songs wouldn’t bring back too many bad middle school memories for the audience.

Ultimately, Rawcus 360 was one of the cannot-miss dance events of the year, and the popularity of the event showed that Raw Elementz is still one group on campus that everyone is fascinated with.

Image via Raw Elementz