Playing host to over 400 dancers and choreographers in the city, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts was the scene of creative culture and community coming together for this year’s 2013 Stomp Urban Dance Competition and Showcase.
The showcase, in conjunction with the Sony Centre and the City of Toronto, ran its first show 12 years ago with only 100 participants and has grown to become one of the nation’s largest dance showcases ever.
STOMP caters to youth ages 6 to 24 and harnesses the ideals of community-building, social inclusion, and youth engagement to promote future progress in all of Toronto’s urban communities.
Members of dance crew Royal-T Revolution, looking very much like a cohesive dance group decked out in matching purple and gold performance hoodies, said the STOMP showcase also enables youth to express themselves through creative outlets on a large platform.
“It gives us a chance to basically show off our talent and what we have [to offer] and we love to dance,” said 17-year-old Alia Jackman.
Royal-T Revolution was established by founding members Jackman, Charona Sinclair, 25, and A.J. Town, 19, all of Scarborough, and ages range in the group from 7 to 25. The group has a total of seven members.
“This is another outlet, artistically, for kids to get involved in and really get hands on and really express themselves,” said Sinclair.
Sinclair said she sees Jackman and James, along with herself, as role models for other youth and hope to continue positively influencing them through dance in the future.
“Hopefully, we’ll be helping to showcase more of our talent and maybe do some workshops, maybe do some more shows, hopefully run programs and utilize our youth in actual city programs and be the leaders and help the children coming up in the next generation and pass on their wisdom and knowledge,” said Sinclair.
Royal-T Revolution received an honourable mention during the showcase’s awards segment, but did not place within their intermediate category, to the surprise of the crowd.
Another East-end dance crew, Kids These Days, and its 15 members said participating in STOMP 2013 turned out be a learning experience collectively for the group.
“Coming into this has really been an honour. When we came into it, we had high expectations and coming out of it we realize it’s a beautiful competition to grow from,” said KTD crew member John David, 20.
“It’s been more about learning how we are as a team of dancers and being part of a community that supports those arts,” David added.
Like Royal-T Revolution, Kids These Days received an honourable mention but did not place in the advanced category.
In the end, advanced dance crew C2 Genesys and its 14 dancers took home the top prize. A towering trophy with the group’s name engraved on it, along with an official STOMP banner and the opportunity to perform at the upcoming Scarborough Canada Day event.
C2 Genesys member Julie Thai, 19, said it was the third time the group had competed at STOMP and they were very happy to win.
“This was a major piece and we really put our hearts into it. We’re really happy we won,” Thai said.
C2 Genesys will also be performing at the upcoming Beat Down showcase on August 10 taking place at the Ryerson Theatre.
STOMP 2013 featured a total of 18 dance crews and nine individual showcases performed by local singers, dancers, musicians and rappers.
Local businesses and organizations such as G98.7 FM, Urbanology Magazine, and 1LoveT.O. all sponsored this year’s STOMP showcase.