Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spotlight On: Philippine Allstars

Our spotlight feature today is on a hip hop crew that has always impressed when they visited the U.S. They're the Philippine Allstars. Created in 2005 by twelve friends from the Philippines underground hip hop scene, the Allstars made their biggest impression in 2006 when they won the World Title at Hip Hop Internationals. They've won many titles beforehand and afterwards. Loved by many fans, they've become spokesmodels for products and dance icons among a young generation. (Photo above is from their myspace site.)

You can see their myspace site here: http://www.myspace.com/philippineallstars.

And you can see a video of them here from the 2008 Hip Hop Internationals:

Seeing them perform is a treat. As a crew; they're athletic, smooth, precise, and very imaginative with the pictures they create on stage. They've shown a well-roundedness in their hip hop and street styles by embracing elements of bboying, krumping, popping, and locking. By taking some of these street elements and tailoring them to a group performance, the Allstars know how to play to the strengths of each of their members. They draw the best from each style and combine it together into a group performance which is planned out like a well-written story. As you watch them, you find yourselves cheering at one moment, gasping the next, and then you feel your jaw drop as the plot twists continue. They surprise, seduce, and thrill all within one performance. Needless to say, the Allstars are seasoned entertainers.

While it's hard to see details on stage, the Allstars are very fashionable and photogenic in their photos, videos, and online presence. No wonder they're sought after by promoters and sponsors in the Philippines. Being a co-ed group also helps as their crew can showcase the strengths of their female and male members. Fashion has always been an important part of the hip hop lifestyle. It's no surprise that the Allstars pay tribute to the original look of first generation hip hop culture, but they also venture into creating new images for themselves. They're a reminder of how vibrant hip hop dance culture has become worldwide. We're seeing different crews of varying nationalities interpret the culture in their own ways. For the Allstars, they can be classy, elegant, sexy, rugged, and trendsetting whenever they choose to be.

Finally, their work with the U.S. Embassy Outreach programs and their involvement with political voting campaigns in the Philippines underscores how they've become role models to the youth. Dancers can be motivational agents for change as they can speak to a generation that may not be reached by politicians. Are the Allstars setting an example that our U.S. dancers could emulate? When was the last time you saw a hip hop or street dancer campaign visibly for social and political change in an election? It seems that in the U.S, musicians are usually taking that role. But that shouldn't discourage dancers as we become increasingly more recognized by a mainstream audience. It's awesome to see when hip hop and street dance is elevated into the political and social change arena. As we fight for more opportunities to be seen and heard, it may open up doors for other members of a young generation to have a voice. The Philippine Allstars's influence may just be the tip of the iceberg for what we can do to create change.

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