Vie Division blends mainstream and old school hip-hop in online concept videos
Established in 2014, Vie Division is bringing old school hip-hop to a student audience. The semi-professional dance crew, which consists entirely of McMaster University students, hopes to create a community through dance in the Hamilton area.
As ‘vie’ means to strive towards a goal, their name signifies the group’s continuous progression towards their goals, whether they be in terms of personal growth or in dance.
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“We’ve always strived for helping each other towards goal setting. Early on in our term, we would set goals for each other, both as a person and as a dancer and we always try to work towards that,” said Addi San Juan, a Vie Division director and multimedia student.
Welcoming students from a variety of dance backgrounds, Vie Division focuses on a fusion of hip-hop and contemporary styles. Taking advantage of team members’ unique skill sets, the group has created a style that is uniquely their own.
“What we’re basically trying to do is just create an open community where you can share your ideas through dance. After high school, I was accepted onto Vie Division and I’ve just been growing and seeing and learning from there with my post-secondary community,” said Azia Naguit, a Vie Division director and fourth-year life sciences student.
“What we’re basically trying to do is just create an open community where you can share your ideas through dance.”
Typically, the team plans their semester around regional hip-hop and urban dance competitions. Early in the fall semester, they select songs as a group and rehearse choreography until early spring. Working up to performances, they bring in Vie Division alumni to help with their creative process.
Due to COVID, Vie Division has recently shifted their focus from competition to video production and concept videos. The videos showcase Vie Division’s student choreography and experimentation with different styles of dance. In a recent concept video entitled Vie Throws It Back, the group experimented with house, waacking, vogue, dancehall, litefeet and traditional hip-hop techniques.
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As the group has adapted to the pandemic they’ve become more skilled with their filmography and video editing. In their most recent video, dancers unable to attend due to COVID protocols were inserted into the video seamlessly through videography by the group’s photographer and videographer Jacob Arcas.
For students looking to participate in dance classes, Vie Division has several free and paid online videos and workshops available. The group recently held their auditions for the winter semester and hope to hold a virtual showcase in the near future.
“We’re super accommodating and welcoming to anyone who is interested in pursuing dance and giving them a light to see how it is possible [to balance dance and school] . . . As much as we are a dance team, we’re also just a bunch of students trying to survive university, so we’re definitely a huge support to each other as students and as people outside of dance,” explained Emma Powell, the Vie Division captain and fourth-year mechanical engineering and management student.
“As much as we are a dance team, we’re also just a bunch of students trying to survive university, so we’re definitely a huge support to each other as students and as people outside of dance,”
By watching and participating in what Vie Division has to offer, students get to explore dance culture through the ages.