Peace Love Hip Hop defies dance category in award-winning season
Over 100 dancers. Seventeen skillfully choreographed routines. Four regional competitions. And more awards and accolades than kids could count.
Daniel Island’s Peace Love Hip Hop (PLHH) dance studio concluded its 2016-2017 competitive season with marks in the win column and a following that defied dance categories.
“If you had asked me five years ago if a hip hop number could win top score overall against jazz, tap, ballet, and contemporary numbers, I would have said no way!” said PLHH owner and coach Angel Roberts. “These kids and their families have accomplished the impossible.”
Roberts said her dancers faced tough competition at four weekend-long events held in Myrtle Beach, North Charleston and Savannah, GA. Squads were comprised of solely male and female dancers as well as special production numbers in which boys and girls danced together. In each of the competitions, PLHH teams were awarded first place honors for technique, choreography, and overall performance. The dance company also received an invitation to compete at the Platinum Elite National Competition in July.
A highlight reel of the season would have been lengthy said Roberts. But several parents mentioned one routine as a stand-out performance. The number, choreographed by Roberts and coach Marcus Payne, was simply called “Church” and blended 74 boys and girls ranging in age from five to 18. The choreography combined high-flying acrobatics with up tempo beats, moveable props and stage antics that audience members agreed was reminiscent of a Broadway musical production.
“I have been a dance mom for several years,” said Daniel Island photographer Mandy Hostetler, whose daughter Megan competed on the teen squad. “But the skill level and choreography this season were literally jaw-dropping.”
Hostetler said she even observed dancers from other teams taking part in a standing ovation after one performance.
“It was phenomenal,” she praised. “What Angel and Marcus achieved was absolute magic.”
Roberts, Payne and members of the dance company said they received hundreds of messages of congratulations on their victories in person and on social media. However, Roberts said she was more proud of the people she works with than the trophy count.
“Even though we absolutely love all of the awards, the most satisfying part of this year was watching the community we have built,” said Roberts. “With hundreds of Daniel Island families being part of our studio, we’ve been able to create a place for both parents and kids to enjoy, cultivate a love for dance, and empower each other.”
The dance studio will wrap up its 2016-2017 season with a performance that is open to the public on Wednesday, May 24 at 6 p.m. at the School of the Arts auditorium in North Charleston. Roberts said the winning routines will be performed at the event, in addition to several new numbers. Admission is free to the community.
After 10 years on the island, Roberts said the studio is looking forward to adding new dancers to their troupe of talented athletes.
“With the new addition of a second dance studio in our building, we will be able to add many fun new classes for children (and adults) of all ages and skill levels,” she said. “We hope people will come and take part. It’s something very special to be a part of.”
Registration is open for fall recreational classes and summer camps for dancers of all ages. Class schedules and information can be found at peacelovehiphop.com or @peacelovehiphop on Instagram.