Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spotlight On: Syrenz

In Greek mythology, the sirens were portrayed as dangerous seductresses, often in the form of bird-women and later as mermaid-like creatures. But today's spotlight feature is on the Syrenz, an up-and-coming dance troupe that have been making strong moves in the Los Angeles hip hop dance scene. You can see them at their site http://thesyrenz.com/. (Photo above is from their website.)

The Syrenz have some of LA's top dancers in breaking, locking, waacking, and hip hop choreography as well as being proficient in other styles. They're community leaders, media artists, and well-respected figures among the older and younger generation. You may know them by their motto, "Desire to Inspire." Here's an example of their work:

So what makes them so intriguing? First of all, they're multidimensional. While their team can perform in choreography showcases, they have individual members who can battle in cyphers and competitions. Many of them are freestylers at heart, and they continue to train with leaders in their respective styles. Whether it's breaking, locking, or waacking; the Syrenz can hold it down in a cypher with other street dancers from Los Angeles and the rest of the world. Having that freestyle skill only strengthens their resources for doing team choreography. It also empowers them to be qualified teachers to younger dancers whether it's at Homeland Community Center or J.U.i.C.E.

Second, they've differentiated themselves from the rest of the hip hop teams in Los Angeles. At the World of Dance Tour in Pomona earlier this year, the Syrenz unleashed a piece that weaved hip hop choreo, breaking, locking, and waacking with an East Asian mystic flair. There was no other team on stage using anything remotely close to their choice of music or their outfits. Who else was using wind sound effects along with sitars and huge silk-like fans in their performance? Watching them was like stepping into another world. And it was a refreshing breath of fresh air when compared to the plethora of choreo teams at WOD using the same hip hop tracks, tall tees, and familiar swagger.

And finally, the Syrenz have been making smart moves by involving themselves in many areas of the Los Angeles street dance community from fundraisers, outdoor performances, dancing with recording artists, and giving themselves an online media presence through their branded logos and website. Their color palette of purples, blues, and aqua greens have almost become a trademark look. Not sure if it's a callback to the aquatic nature of the mythological sirens, but it works. All of these efforts can only help the Syrenz to be well-remembered by the dance community.

If anything, their team shows the power of uniting talented individuals under one roof. When you have creative minds and influential leaders banding together, something powerful is always bound to happen. While it remains to be seen if the Syrenz will debut on a national television show like ABDC, it doesn't feel like they need that kind of venue to make an impact. We'll be watching to see how they help shape the Los Angeles dance community. Desire to inspire, indeed.

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