Extraterrestrials, driving bass beats and superheroes invaded the Ohio Union as eight dance teams competed to be the best in the Midwest over the weekend.
The fifth annual Midwest Mix Up Dance Competition attracted a crowd of nearly 1,000 people to the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom at 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
Of the eight competing teams, six were from Ohio. Dance Linx and Stylez Dance Group were the two teams representing Ohio State.
Dance Linx took third place, finishing behind winners Boyz of Poison, an all-male dance group from Chicago, Ill., and runners-up Too Much Dance, a team from Indianapolis, Ind.
Students, families and local residents watched as dancers battled during three rounds of dancing.
Eight judges looked on as dancers performed choreographed routines to song excerpts from popular artists such as Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne.
The competition started with an introductory round in which each team had 30 seconds to make an impression on the audience. The second round allowed each team to show off its skills for a longer period of time.
Some teams used props to enhance their performance, such as the silver alien body suits worn by members of the Too Much Dance group to portray their “otherworldly” dance routine. Other teams decided to keep it simple by wearing their group’s dance uniforms.
For the third round, each team chose a movie to incorporate into the theme of their dance. “The Incredibles,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and “I, Robot” were some of the movies portrayed in the dance routines.
The competition also featured special appearances from artists Demi Lobo, the self-proclaimed pop princess of Chicago, and Party Boyz, a Texas-based hip-hop group.
Daniel “Diddi” Johnson, producer of the competition and OSU alumnus, created this competition as an undergraduate student at OSU to build a common ground for dance groups across campus.
“There’s one thing that’s unanimous between all cultures,” Johnson said. “Dance brings people together.”
Johnson also said dance is growing and becoming a popular trend.
“Dance is probably one of the…hottest trends right now,” he said. “It’s an exciting year just to see the growth.”
The audience would experience a family-friendly environment for “inner-tainment,” meaning an environment that is comfortable, entertaining and educational, Johnson said.
The OSU students who help him produce the event, Team Mix, have the opportunity to apply the lessons they learn in the classroom, he said.
“We all have degrees, but a lot of us lack work experience,” Johnson said. “Experience is the best teacher.”
This year, some of the proceeds from the competition will be donated to the Youth Needing Organ and Tissue Transplants Foundation. This organization raises awareness about organ donation and advocates for people needing transplants.
Johnson said he chose to include the YNOTT Foundation as a partner in order to eliminate some of the stigma surrounding organ donation.
Edward Drake II, the president of the YNOTT Foundation said he was unsure how much money would be donated to his organization from the ticket sales.
Drake said he was a college football player for Eastern Michigan University when he was diagnosed with end-stage Renal Disease. He said his experience of receiving a kidney transplant inspired him to fight for other patients in need.
Sharí Thomas, a second-year in marketing, said she enjoyed the work that went into organizing this competition.
“I woke up excited,” Thomas said about the day of the competition.
Mark Payne, a second-year in business administration, said he joined Team Mix because it was a good opportunity to join an organization. Payne said the event has grown and improved from previous competitions.
Jon Pinkins, a second-year in engineering, agreed.
“I wasn’t expecting this many people,” Pinkins said.