Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

W!CKED ushers in a smashing semester

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Courtesy of W!CKED
The W!CKED Dance Crew for Spring ’24.

Suffolk University hip-hop dance troupe, W!CKED, entered the spring semester with an exciting lineup of events and performances, all with the goal to make art and have fun.

W!CKED is Suffolk’s first-ever hip-hop campus group. Founded in 2008, the team has been bolstering a reputation for high-energy work over the past 16 years. With some major roster changes over the past two years, this team’s fresh new faces are aiming to  bring something new to the university dance scene.

This semester, the team is bringing in guest choreographers to help hone their skills and learn new moves. This kind of creativity is essential to the team’s process — unlike other dance teams, their performances are self-choreographed solely by the students and W!CKED alumni.

Last semester’s performance, titled “Pretty n’ P!NK,” was nothing short of spectacular. The piece was a high-energy performance with an emphasis on partner work. The set used songs from influences in the pop and rap scene like Beyonce, Kali Uches and JID. The team has taken the success of last semester’s work to another level with their upcoming performance.

This semester the team has developed a set titled “Too Hot To Handle,” a mix of six songs, all with R&B and hip-hop influences. Co-captains Brennan Loi and Jessa Didonato have been working hard on choreographing a high-energy and fresh piece with W!CKED alumni Janna Turnquest and Alexa Affsa.

New member, Sophia Vahabi, joined the team this spring semester with excitement to be getting into such a unique piece of dance.

“The set has a sensual and powerful feel to it,” said Vahabi.

For Didonato, dance has always been a part of her life, something she knew she would bring to a team like W!CKED when she came to college.

“I’ve been dancing since I was 11. I loved modern, hip-hop and contemporary the most though. Dance can serve as a gateway to a wide range of opportunities for involvement and engagement in the Suffolk community, allowing me to develop new skills, make meaningful connections and contribute to campus life in a unique and fulfilling way,” said Didonato.

Loi also brings his unique experiences to bring a new perspective to the team’s production and dynamic. As one of the few boys to ever be featured on the team, Loi’s presence has never been questioned by the team.

“Being the only guy on the team I never felt judged or that I didn’t belong! Everyone is so loving and especially during tough times I can feel it,” said Loi.

The team has been working hard to make this semester one of their most influential on campus. With Suffolk Performing Arts showcases like EXCLAMATION and UDOT Extravaganza being big hits across the student body, it’s no surprise they are being an agent of inclusivity with their team’s presence.

“Dance is a powerful tool for promoting diversity, inclusivity and cultural exchange. By participating in multicultural dance performances or organizing events that celebrate different dance traditions, we engage in making Suffolk a more inclusive campus,” said Didonato.

The process for W!CKED’s productions is a bit different from a standard dance team. The process is very collaborative, as the E-board reaches out to the group to help siphon ideas that reflect what the team will be passionate about performing. This often results in a number where all dancers are able to feature personal styles and skills into a routine. 

Despite rigorous routines and rehearsal schedules, the team maintains their energetic presence and focus on fun. With a team of 15, there is no shortage of laughter and excitement during their long days of learning choreography.

“Rehearsals are filled with laughter and enjoying the process of creating and performing together,” said Didonato.

The team brought on a lot of new faces this past fall and spring. With 12 members during the 2022-2023 season, this group is the largest W!CKED has seen in a while. This proved to be one of the most talented groups of freshmen to audition, making up more than half of the team.

Vahabi has already been having a great time collaborating with a primarily underclassman crew.

“Everyone on the team has some form of dance experience. The team right now is mainly freshmen and sophomores,” said Vahabi.

Jasmine Dos Reis joined last fall and has already gotten comfortable with the tight-knit team.

“I’ve loved the friends I’ve made from joining W!CKED, and honestly just doing what I love with people I love,” said Reis.

With a team of all different skill sets and levels of practice and training, the team’s dynamic has been key to the success of the team. Team members are always working to make rehearsals a place where everyone can come to be accepted and engage in dance with people who share that same passion.

“Rehearsal is my favorite part of every week. We are all always excited to see each other and we are always laughing, smiling and talking,” said Reis.

For Loi, W!CKED was a stark contrast to the community he grew up in, which lacked diversity. The team’s roster sported students from all different groups and walks of life.

“I know we still have a long way to go, but as we gain new members we are becoming more inclusive in all areas as a team, which is one of my main goals as a member and captain of W!CKED,” said Loi.

The new set and team will be showcased March 1 at the UDOT Extravaganza. This team’s energy and impact on Suffolk is something you will not want to miss.

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About the Contributor
Julia Capraro, Editor-at-Large | she/her
Julia is a sophomore broadcast journalism and psychology major from Canton, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the Journal, she is President of Suffolk Visual Arts Club. She loves cooking, crochet and reading in her free time.

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