By: Wonhee Park
Trickers performing intricate maneuvers and turning nimble flips in the air is a sight for all to see. Tricking is an intense style of acrobatics that also has theatrical elements to it. Athletes perform swift and flowing flips and kicks without the assistance of any wires or trampolines. The style is often infused with dancing to enhance the choreography.
This year, junior Blaze Lee decided to create a Hip-Hop club that focuses on tricking. It is composed of upperclassmen and underclassmen dancers who are interested in learning and practicing tricking.
New Crew, a tricking group mainly composed of the upperclassmen trickers who founded the club, hold daily training sessions from Monday through Friday during lunch on the football field. Practice sessions last for around an hour so that trickers can have enough time to practice their moves and polish their skills on a daily basis. The other sect of the club is largely constituted of underclassmen and novice trickers.
However, it was seniors Derek Lai, Vincent Yang and Jack Kwan who made tricking popular on campus last year. Though they were not the founders of the Hip-Hop club, they motivated many of the current members to continue pursuing the art of tricking. “I saw them as me a year ago, so I shared with them what I knew,” Kwan said.
According to junior Eric Cheng, these upperclassmen are the Hip-Hop club’s inspiration. Many of the members have looked to them as mentors and have sought advice when they need help mastering a particularly difficult move. “They exposed me to tricking, and it was amazing to see it in real life,” junior Max Woo said.
Each member of the Hip-Hop club has his individual tricking style. Some prefer certain moves to others and develop their skills according to these preferences.
In addition, many trickers also focus on mastering one move first before moving to another one. Junior Peter Huang is continuously working to improve his favorite move, The Webster, which is also known as the The Loser. The Webster is a forward flip while running.
In contrast, freshman Edwin Lai’s favorite move is the No-handed Gumby, which is a no-handed cartwheel with a twist. However, once trickers master a move, they move on and look for more challenging and elaborate ones.
According to Lee, part of the attraction of tricking is the awe that is seen on the audience’s faces when trickers successfully pull off these dangerous moves. “We were drawn to the shock value that flips have [on people],” he said.
However, learning new tricks is not as easy and effortless as the final result, and even for the most experienced and trained trickers, there are always a few obstacles that are difficult to overcome. The club members encourage one another when trying a new move, which helps overcome some of the fear from attempting a precarious move. “There’s a group of people who encourage you. And it makes you feel more confident,” Lai said.
The many hours spent together creates for team bonding moments among the dancers. “The club is about more than being able to dance. We’re a crew, we hang out together,” Woo said.