Imagine you’re walking through campus, trying to get to your 2 p.m. literature class. You hear the faint sounds of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” starting to fill the air, and, before you know it, the person in front of you drops their backpack and starts grooving to the music. All of a sudden, a few more passersby start to join in, all performing the exact same choreography. The courtyard in front of the Tower has literally transformed into a dance floor before your eyes.
Think this is pure imagination? Think again. Thanks to the antics of Deviance Dance Crew, it’s not unlikely to see Longhorns busting a move on the 40 Acres these days.
“We want to give memorable performances no matter where they are,” said co-founder Ugeo Williams, a sociology and youth and community studies junior.
Deviance Dance Crew founders Williams and Demetrius White met in January 2010 through a mutual friend while waiting for a bus to head downtown with a group of friends.
“When I met him, he had headphones in his ears and was dancing,” White, an American studies junior, said.
The two later bonded over their mutual love of dance. This past summer, Williams and White started creating choreography together just for fun. As the new school year approached, the pair realized they might be onto something and decided to give their moves an audience. And Deviance Dance Crew was born.
“When we started out, it was in our mission statement to be the best performance group on campus,” White said. “There’s no point in starting something if you’re not going to strive to be the best.”
The dance crew likes to incorporate many different styles into their performances, drawing inspiration from the skills and talent of their members. While Williams specializes in lyrical hip-hop, White likes to add some “vogue-ing” to group performances. The crew mainly focuses on hip-hop, but is open to any style brought in by new members.
“We’re very performance-driven, so we’re just looking for that spark,” Williams said. “So anyone that can do that for us is welcome to join.”
White and Williams have managed to take their fledgling organization quite far in such a short amount of time. Through word-of-mouth recruiting and campus performances, Deviance Dance Crew ended up with 15 members this semester — and they are always looking to add more, even those with little dance background.
The crew made its official debut at the Queer People of Color and Allies annual Bloq Party, after Williams contacted the event chair and asked if they could perform.
“We performed ‘End of Time’ by Beyonce for our first performance, and it felt great,” Williams said. “We started out strong, but knew we could be stronger.”
Since then, Deviance has honed its skills through performances at the Federation of Gay and Lesbian Sports annual Halloween party and the University’s first-ever Black Homecoming Weekend.
And they aren’t stopping there. Deviance has some big plans to expand and make the group more prominent on campus in 2012. The group hopes to start a yearly tradition of a spring showcase in either March or April. Though it’s still a work in progress, they hope to incorporate several different dance styles and invite other campus performance groups to participate in the event. They also are working to coordinate some surprise flash mob performances.
“All the world’s a stage, and we’re always performing,” White said.
Although White and Williams have just two more years at UT, they plan to leave a legacy with Deviance Dance Crew and hope to stay involved as alumni.
“I don’t think either of us feels comfortable graduating and leaving Deviance Dance Crew behind unless it’s the best,” White said.
And they are definitely well on their way to achieving that goal, as the group continues to grow within the community and recruit new members with unique dance styles.
“Come dance with us; don’t be shy. We’re not intimidating,” White said. “I think everybody can dance and everybody should dance.”
Anyone interested can contact Deviance Dance Crew by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or approach them after a performance.