I could only hear constant gasps for air, and see sweat slide down everybody’s face as we hold our final pose of the set that we’d be competing with at Bay Area, a region within San Francisco.
It was Family Night, the night before Academy of Hype leaves to compete in a world renown hip-hop competition known as World of Dance. We showcased our set, dressed in our costumes and performed with all our might to the family and friends that have supported us these past two months of rigorous rehearsals. The night was about celebrating and wishing good luck to the crew and I as we were about to embark on a journey to battle and rep not only our crew but the state of Hawai’i.
Throughout the night I enjoyed myself but never lost sight of my goal towards winning with my team. Finally, the night was over and I was on my flight to Bay Area. The following day began with greets and smiles from everybody, along with a nice breakfast at Dennys.
There were two days until competition day, and today we will be rehearsing at a studio owned by our sister crew, Academy of Villains. “5, 6, 7, 8” was repeated constantly by our director until he felt that our set was clean enough to move on or take a break. This took up nearly half our day, until the directors of Academy of Villains, Pharside and Krystal, showed up. Academy of Villains showed up along with the two directors to exhibit each others sets. Academy of Hype was first to go, and we ran through it keeping corrections in mind. The entire set was filled with my team screaming for each other, and Academy of Villains cheering us on. Finally, we ended with a round of applause from the other team.
Academy of Villains showcased right after us, and we responded with the same cheering and applause. Unfortunately, my director was disappointed in a few of our members who looked down on Hype because they were so amazed with either the other crews set or freestylers. My director constantly told us “it shouldn’t matter whether they have a cool trick or two, all of our faith should remain in our crew because at the end of the day this is the team we will be laughing, crying, or arguing with. This was our family”. These words of wisdom is what carried me throughout the competition, and throughout my life today.The next day, we arrived at the World of Dance venue and was given a lot of time to browse the clothing vendors because we weren’t scheduled till later that night. I watched a couple of battles and competition pieces before heading to the back to get dressed. Our costume consisted of a psycho look, as if we were from an asylum.
Light brown clothes with a slight coffee smell (because we stained the shirt with coffee), and a few black buckles to give the costume a straight jacket look. I heard our name being announced, “Academy of Hype”, and I headed onstage along with the rest of my crew to set up. This is what we’ve been preparing ourselves for, let’s go out with a bang. That’s when we began. Throughout the set the crowd would constantly cheer, scream, and applaud the most exciting parts of our set.
However, what truly pushed me was the screams from my crewmembers, telling each other to keep pushing for first place. The passion could be seen in each and every one of our faces. No matter how exhausted our bodies were, or how sweaty we got; everybody would constantly push towards the end. Our set ended and majority of the crowd stood for a standing ovation, along with the judges. I ran backstage and we all hugged and congratulated each other for getting a standing ovation from everybody.
All that was left is to receive awards and placements.Eventually, Academy of Hype was called onto stage with the rest of the competing teams. Slowly, every award was issued. “Best theme! Crowd favorite!” were announced along with the rest of the awards, and finally placements were about to be announced.
My heart began to race faster as I held my crewmates tightly, anticipating the results. “Gossip Crew!” was announced as my crew gasped with relief. I could only hope for first as the next placement was being announced. My heart beat was out of control as the announcer said there was “a 0.4 point difference between second and first place”. Finally we heard second place “..
.Academy of Hype!”. My heart inverted and my stomach churned as sorrow filled my entire body.
We clapped and tried to smile, however we couldn’t get over not getting first place. “Chapkis!” was announced for first place and without waiting too long all of Hype left to the backstage. I couldn’t truly cry, not until my parents came up to me.
The built up sorrow in my heart bursted as I hugged them while looking at the rest of my team in tears. We’ve worked so hard, only to get a 0.4 difference from first place. We all tried consoling one another, but it was still hard to grasp reality as second place was so close. Although I was still upset, what’s done is done and we headed back to the hotel. We partied all night with each other as well as people from Jabbawockeez, 8 Flavahz, and so on.
It was an amazing journey, and although we didn’t achieve the result we had hoped for; I was glad that it was spent with Academy of Hype, my second family. Currently, we are 1st place champions of World of Dance Hawai’i, and I hope to compete once again as the months stroll by. I thank the people that have worked with me and wish to achieve much more than what has already been achieved.