CSUN’s matadancers evolve into hip hop team

Natalie Estrada

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The hip hop dance team adds some swag to their set during rehearsal. The team has preformed at showcase and is one of the few college teams invited to choreographer’s carnival. Photo Credit: Herber Lovato / Assistant Photo Editor

In a basement room in Redwood Hall, members of the CSUN Hip Hop Team gather a few nights a week to learn and create new choreography.  During their rehearsals, laughter and music fills the room as group members work together to build off each others’ artistic abilities.

The CSUN Hip Hop Team, previously known as the Matadancers, has been an active group on-campus since 2000.  This group started as a jazz dance team, but eventually evolved into what is now the CSUN Hip Hop Team, which focuses on hip hop dance styles.

Christina Moffitino, 19, president of the CSUN Hip Hop Team, said the founders started the group to create a positive environment for students to share their love and passion for dance.

Although the CSUN Hip Hop Team focuses on hip hop dancing, they do not exclude other styles of dance in their routines, the broadcast journalism major said.  The team has evolved and will continue to evolve with time, she added.

“We always try to add an artistic element to our performances. They always have some sort of theme because it’s not just hip hop—we try to add costumes, make-up, hair and we try to give a full show,” Moffitino said.

“Being a part of the CSUN Hip Hop Team is a great way to get away from school and work and just dance and do something I love,” said Kristel Dela Rosa, broadcast journalism major and active member of the CSUN Hip Hop Team.

The CSUN Hip Hop Team won the CSUN Student Showcase in 2010, which allows on-campus clubs and organizations to show off their talents.

“Winning the CSUN Showcase 2010 was one of my most memorable moments with the team,” Dela Rosa said.  “After all that hard work, rehearsing and performing, it was great to hear our team be named the winners.  I was really glad to be a part of that.”

The team holds auditions at the start of every fall semester to recruit new members, Moffitino said.

“We promote our fall auditions during Meet the Clubs Day, by passing out flyers on-campus, and through social media, such as Twitter and Facebook,” said Moffitino.

“The CSUN Hip Hop Team does well in regards to memberships and recruitment,” said Augie Garibay, activities coordinator of clubs and organizations.  “They are active and involved on-campus and promote themselves to incoming students.”

The CSUN Hip Hop Team receives funds from A.S., said Garibay.  Due to a limited budget, active groups on-campus must submit a proposal for A.S. Senate approval in order to receive funding.

The CSUN Hip Hop Team also offers dance workshops for a nominal fee to help them raise money for their group.

“We hold hip-hop dance workshops, which are led by both current and past members,” said Moffitino.  “The cost to attend the workshops are $5. We try to keep it affordable.”

Student involvement on-campus is a good student retention tool for the university and students tend to enjoy their college experiences more when they are involved, Garibay said.

“Studies have shown that students are more likely to finish up college and graduate if they are involved in a club or organization on-campus,” said Garibay. “I have also observed that students tend to have more fun throughout their college years if they are involved.”

Dela Rosa and Moffitino agreed that being a part of the CSUN Hip Hop Team has enhanced their college experience and given them a place to be able to connect with other students outside of the classroom.

“Being part of something on-campus adds so much to the college experience,” Moffitino said. “We share the same experience and we try to teach each other choreography and get a great workout in the process.”

“After all that hard work, class, and studying—and a day full of stress—coming to rehearsal for two hours is a great stress reliever,” said Dela Rosa.

“Clubs and organizations provide a lot of students with an outlet on-campus,” said Garibay. He also added that he would like to see the CSUN Hip Hop Team gain more visibility and support at CSUN.

“At CSUN (being part of the CSUN Hip Hop Team) gives me a reason to want to come to school and something to look forward to everyday,” said Moffitino.

Check out the video at CSUN Hip Hop Dance Team