“R’Movement” gives student organizations a shot at the spotlight

R'Movement - Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER
R’Movement – Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER

There are over 500 student organizations at UCR. However, few of us know what half of these organizations actually do. This is exactly why events like R’Movement are so important — to keep students aware of the bountiful diversity within UCR that sometimes goes unnoticed, but nevertheless exists.

R’Movement, which is held by the Associated Students Program Board, has been providing a stage to student organizations since 2011. According to Ebony Glover, director of contemporary culture at ASPB, “We put on this show to get student organizations to showcase their talents.” Touching upon how R’Movement exposes students to different interests and activities that exist on campus, “UCR is very diverse so R’Movement allows us to appreciate this diversity.”

In addition to providing an expressive outlet to student orgs, the event has featured famous performers in the past such as Poreotics, iLuminate, Quest Crew, I.aM.mE and Kinjaz.

The 2016 rendition of R’Movement took place on Wednesday, April 20 at the University Theatre.

Hosts Josh Moreno and Sadie Padilla jovially opened the show by briefly introducing R’Movement before handing the stage over to the first performance of the night, the Illerside B-boys.

The Illerside B-boys, UCR’s own b-boy troupe, started the show off on the right foot (thankfully, considering that some of the moves they did must have taken years to perfect) with an exhilarating performance. Not only did they evoke wonder from the audience with air spins and body flips, but they also got the audience moving in their seats with a groovy routine to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

R'Movement - Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER
R’Movement – Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER

To keep the heat going, the Salsa Club came up next with a spicy performance to three salsa numbers. The sundry style of the music, which blended Afro-Cuban, American jazz and Spanish elements altogether, was the perfect backdrop for the romantic presentation consisting of four female-male couples. The dancers were color-coordinated in red and black, making every amorous hip twist look like the twirl of a red rose and every embrace the conjoining of two flames.

The hips kept shaking with an upbeat hula performance by the Oceania Dance Club. Two girls dressed in traditional Polynesian attire first did the popular “He Mele No Lilo” dance from “Lilo and Stitch,” then switched off into individual performances. It was particularly impressive how both girls smiled throughout the entire performance, putting everyone in the audience in a buoyant, feel-good mood.

The show went on with a charming performance by Ballet Folklorico. They presented a colorful whirl of green, red and pink pastels with the doll-like outfits they wore serving as fan-like dance props. Not only did they sway their frilly dresses back and forth like flags, but they also tapped their feet and heels in a detailed pattern, making the overall movement full of energy and spirit.

Moreno then appeared onstage wearing sunglasses. “Josh, why are you wearing sunglasses?” Padilla asked when she approached him. Moreno referenced the glasses to the character Connor from the upcoming Andy Samberg movie, “Popstar,” which ASPB premiered on April 21. They even played the trailer on the projector to encourage the audience to attend the showing.

Following the brief comedic break, Padilla asked the crowd, “Where are all the K-pop fans at?” which was received by perhaps the greatest applause of the night. Although I’m not a K-pop fan, I joined in with the excitement because I didn’t even know that a Korean pop music club existed at UCR. Similar to actual K-pop choreographies, the dances, which were 2NE1’s “I am the Best” and “I Hate You” by 4Minute (to name a few), were highly synchronized with each member serving a specific function as opposed to having everyone carry out the same moves.

The next organization to grace the stage was the Nigerian Student Association, who used Afropop beats for a highly energetic performance. The four dancers began with West African hip-hop and reggae songs by artists such as Falz and Burna Boy, then pleasantly surprised the audience with the familiar “Oh Don’t Do It” by BDOTomgmovement. With its “bouncy” motions and full-body engagement, the animated performance looked like an intense amount of fun.

Although all of the performances were equally entertaining and unique, the “best,” considering they were on America’s Got Talent and The Voice, was saved for last with the Prodigy Dance Crew. In a thoroughly engaging performance, the crew started off with only men then solely women choreography, then transitioned into an intricately planned routine to Beyonce’s “Formation” in which a girl “climbed” a staircase composed of the other dance members before dramatically falling into the arms of two boys. The boys and girls then united in a partner dance to Rihanna’s “Work,” then split off individually into an expressive freestyle session.

At the end of the night, I realized that I hadn’t even known about some of the clubs before the event and therefore felt thankful that I saw parts of UCR that I was completely unaware of. Although each organization was clearly special in its own way, their unique qualities reflected the diversity at UCR that connects all of us together.

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