Martha Graham once said “nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.”
This quote is one of the mantras of Revolve Dance Crew, which is known as the premiere Asian-styled dance group at Northeastern. Originally, Revolve consisted of a small group of people interested in diverse types of dance, but has evolved to “a 28-member strong group that attends multiple performances and competitions a semester,” according to secretary Jennifer Varavithaya.
Hip-hop is the group’s primary dance style; however, their choreography often features other styles, such as contemporary, “popping,” “locking,” and “housing.” While Revolve strives to promote Asian hip-hop and pop culture, they are certainly not Asian-limited, either in types of dance or members.
“We hope to combine Eastern and Western dance styles while promoting a strong passion for dance and refining our own skills,” Varavithaya says.
The past couple of months, Revolve has focused on preparing for their upcoming performances, the first of which took place on November 8 at Funk’tion, a showcase hosted by another Northeastern dance crew, Kinematix. The group also plans to participate in the Ring the Alarm dance competition hosted by MIT’s Mocha Moves, and to perform at Dance For Me, which is hosted by Northeastern Barkada, an organization promoting Filipino culture.
That being said, it is not essential for all dancers in the group to be part of the active performing team. Members also host various workshops throughout the semester, where they teach new choreography and raise money for their team for Relay for Life, a cause the group dedicates itself to each year.
Revolve encourages anyone with a passion for dance to audition for the group, regardless of their background or level of formal dance training.
“That’s something we love to see,” says Varavithaya. “A commitment to dancing even if you don’t get the choreography right the first time. Or the second time. Or the third time. Because with passion and effort, you’ll get it soon enough!”
The group’s enthusiasm does not only apply to dance, however; it also applies to their relationships with each other.
“The best part about being a member [of Revolve] is the sense of family we cultivate,” Varavithaya says. “While we come from different places with different social and dance backgrounds, when we’re all together and dancing, there’s an amazing energy.”
Even outside of practice, the group spends time together and supports each other, often by going out to eat. As Varavithaya puts it, “we completely understand the virtue in good food and good company!”
Members of Revolve have gone on to become part of some of the top dance crews in Boston. However, the group has remained grounded in their sense of community.
“We still keep our main priority of instilling a sense of family among all of our members,” Varavithaya assures.
Current director Johanna Gunawan adds that “I think [the community aspect] is what sets Revolve apart from a lot of other organizations [here at Northeastern]; we’re one big happy, dysfunctional, food-loving family.”
Even though Revolve’s rehearsals often take place late at night, Gunawan never feels like she doesn’t want to go to practice. In fact, it’s the highlight of her day.
“After a long, hard day, coming to Revolve is perhaps the best thing I could ever ask for,” she says. “If I’m suffering from mental fatigue or slight sickness, the energy that Revolve exudes keeps me going.”