A glimpse into the world of university dance

I have always loved to dance, but it has only been since I entered university that I started taking it more seriously. My perspective on dance has really changed over the last few years, and I have been blessed enough to call a lot of really talented dancers my friends. With this photo essay, I wanted to take people behind-the-scenes and show what dancers really experience, and the time and effort they put into their craft. In particular, I wanted to shine a light on dance competitions and the work that goes into five to 10-minute performances. Behind them are hours of dancers continually pushing their minds and bodies to do their best. I chose to focus my essay on what I am most familiar with — the university dance scene, in particular UHHU (Urban Hip Hop Union), Ryerson’s hip-hop dance team. This photo essay focuses on their journey to Bring Your Own Beat, a competition that teams from different schools compete in yearly.

I first heard about UHHU in my first year of university, and got to know different members of the team through mutual friends, dance classes, and events. The team is mostly made up of Ryerson students, and every year the team changes, as new members audition and graduating students leave. As students, they set aside a significant chunk of their precious time to pursue dance while still being able to balance school and work. One member had a midterm the morning of the competition and rushed there afterwards. Another went from spending all day at the competition to working a night shift without even complaining. These are just a few examples of how much dancers sacrifice to present their art, and it is something that perhaps can’t be captured fully. However, I hope that this photo essay will give readers a glimpse into the lives of the team.

This weekend, UHHU is competing at The Academy Hip-Hop Dance Competition.