Dancing 2XS

Lauren Roebuck and 2XS Dance, Ann Arbor, Michigan photo courtesy Lauren Roebuck
Lauren Roebuck and 2XS Dance, Ann Arbor, Michigan photo courtesy Lauren Roebuck

Lauren Elizabeth Roebuck is very passionate about what 2XS has done for her college experience. Roebuck is currently the artistic director of Dance 2XS Co. Michigan. As the artistic director, her responsibilities include running practices and auditions, overseeing the execution of each performance, implementing her artistic vision into the choreography, and costuming.

Mirror News: When did you start hip hop dancing and what do you like about it?

Roebuck: I started officially taking hip hop classes when I started doing dance conventions which was when I was 13. Before then, I would teach myself the combos Millennium would post on YouTube. I like hip hop for many reasons: I think you are able to express yourself in a unique way, being different is something that is celebrated; it brings people who wouldn’t normally fall in the same social circles a chance to collaborate with one another. You are able to play with different textures. Music and style are such a huge and important part.

MN: Who or what is 2XS and how did it get started?

Roebuck: We are a hip hop dance group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There are four different collegiate chapters, University of Chicago-Urbana Champaign (UIUC), Caliente, Purdue and, of course, Michigan. The first chapter was founded at UIUC by Patrick Chen and Lee Daniel.

MN: What is the mission of 2XS?

Roebuck: The mission of 2XS is to incorporate hip hop into college campuses. A lot of the members on the team are dance majors, but some are non dance majors with a hip hop or dance background. Hip hop is all about community so bringing everybody together to dance hip hop and be a part of the Ann Arbor community is something that 2XS really strives for.

MN: What does the audition process at 2XS look like?

Roebuck: We have a two day audition. On the first day the artistic directors teach a combination and everybody learns it. The auditionees do the combination multiple times in two lines and we switch lines so everyone is seen. We also have the dancers freestyle so we can really get a feel for their individuality. The second day are the “callbacks,” which are held the next day or day after that. We do the same thing but with a new combination. We make sure that the “vibe” of the combination is different from day one. To spice things up, we sometimes will make the dancers perform the combination from the first day as well. We then send emails congratulating our new team members; we do not let them know on callback day.

MN: What do you look for when auditioning dancers?

Roebuck: There are a lot of things that go into making hip hop look good. For me personally, the number one thing is the facials and the energy in your performance to be able to sell what you’re doing and show that you love doing hip hop. Another thing for me would be being grounded. So really, being in your plié rather than being up all the time. That really shows that you have that strong background where you can utilize your plié, which makes your movements even bigger. And that kind of leads into like sitting in the pocket of music. If you’re in the plié and grounded already, you won’t be rushing the music. Musicality is really important as well. I think music is very important when it comes to hip hop. Hip hop’s main influence is music. That’s how your choreography is created. So really, having an ear for what you’re dancing to is very important.

MN: What events do you participate in throughout the year?

Roebuck: We typically have at least four performances throughout the span of the whole year. We host an event called “Barnite” at Necto nightclub in Ann Arbor. We invite a bunch of teams to perform. It’s just like a hip hop showcase that we put on for the Ann Arbor community. All of our friends and family are there which is really fun. There are two barnites, one in the fall and one in the winter. We also have an event called Urbanite, which is in Chicago. Urbanite is usually hosted at UIUC. Urbanite is similar to Barnite but on a much larger scale. It’s a showcase of all the groups in the Michigan, Chicago and Ohio areas. We have also participated in an event called Dance Mix which is held at the power center at Michigan. Dance mix welcomes dance groups in Michigan to perform in any style of their choosing. It is like a big concert performance for our friends and family. Last year we performed in the Pistons pre show, we have also done TEDx. We’re just trying to get as many performance opportunities as possible, because we do have a set, and we have so much material that we just want to show it off.

MN: Who can audition for 2XS? Do you need any qualifications?

Roebuck: A lot of people ask this. I would say, it is open to the public. But I would say that 2XS is a very good team and you would need some sort of dance background to be on the team because the choreography and intricacy of the movement can get a little difficult at times, but we have a lot of rehearsals. I would recommend people who have a dance background, probably in hip hop. We have people who, like me, didn’t really do hip hop that much growing up, but we did come from a very intense competitive dance studio and we trained in various styles, so it all really varies.

MN: What do you love most about being a part of 2XS?

Roebuck: I first just want to say 2XS is the best thing that has happened to me at college. So I guess the best part honestly is being able to, you know, go to class all day, because I’m a dual degree and then I get to go and just dance with my friends and have so much fun. So I’d say, the members of the team make it so amazing and bouncing off of each other’s talent and energy, that’s just the best part.

MN: What upcoming events wil 2XS be part of?

Roebuck: Fall Barnite will be held on October 14 at Necto Nightclub in Ann Arbor. Urbanite is usually held in late November. I do not have an exact date yet. Those are the two performances we are preparing for now.

To learn more about 2XS, go to: https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/dance2xs