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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Lucas+Cheung+practices+freestyle+breakdancing+during+a+workshop.
Photo by Photo by Maria Ramos

Lucas Cheung practices freestyle breakdancing during a workshop.

Bryan-College Station may not be known for its urban entertainment, but it is home to a freestyle hip-hop dance crew.
Freestyle Underground Street Dancers was created in 2008 with the goal of becoming the definitive dance crew in the area. The group has grown in numbers since then and has produced dancers who have had significant influence on the hip-hop dance scene in Texas and beyond.
Charles Jernigan, technology management senior and a former president of Freestyle Underground, said he originally began breakdancing in high school and joined after arriving at Texas A&M.
“Freestyle Underground was created out of the need to have freedom of dance,” Jernigan said. “There weren’t many dance organizations that supported freestyle and community of learning how to be a better individual dancer, to support popping, to support breaking and other freestyle dances. Freestyle Underground was exactly what I needed.”
Evelyn Ortunos, animal science senior and current Freestyle Underground president, said she originally did not anticipate joining the group. She said she began dancing at age 11, but had no experience with freestyle dance before college.
“I was actually looking for a choreographed team, because I’ve never freestyled in my life,” Ortunos said. “But I ended up running into Freestyle Underground and I really liked it.”
Multiple Freestyle Underground members have gone on to reshape the hip-hop dance scene in Texas after graduating from A&M.
Gabriel Dang, Class of ‘14, went on to join the Houston-based popping dance crew Item#Funk and create the annual popping event “Who’s Fakin Da Funk?” Jernigan said the event is “one of the biggest and best popping jams in all of the South.”
Another, Rachel Jackson, Class of ‘12, has her own one-woman community hip-hop show. She’s taken the show on tour to multiple cities around and outside of Texas.
Lucas Cheung, electrical engineering senior, said he was glad to find an organization as diverse as Freestyle Underground.
“This is one of the few organizations that I’ve been in where you can kind of see a cross section of America,” Cheung said. “You see a bunch of Latinos, you see a bunch of black people, you see Asian and white people, all in the same room.”
David Palacios, Class of 2016 and former president of Freestyle Underground, said he has fond memories of the community aspect of the organization.
Freestyle Underground members meet every Thursday night in the Student Recreation Center to do dance workshops. They also hold weekly “Freestyle Fridays” in Rudder Plaza and move the event to the streets of Downtown Bryan for First Fridays.
The dance crew also does several large events throughout the year. They host a “Battle Night” in the Rec at the end of each semester and also travel to compete at bigger events in Houston and Austin.

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