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If you thought engineering college students are supposed to be studious, academic and serious looking and more than often, surrounded by fat books in a huge library, you haven’t yet met the 25-member crew of Synergy and Mavericks (SnM), the two dance clubs of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Rourkela. Students they are but mad about dance too. Members of these two clubs are passionate hip hop dancers who have broken the stereotype and are taking on the odds to battle it out at the World Hip Hop Championship in Las Vegas!

The Snm  dance group recently became the first runners-up in the Indian Hip Hop Championship which earned them a silver medal and a qualifying ticket to World Hip Hop Championship this August.

SNM crew_01

Talking about their successful journey so far, Kunal Sahu, former vice president of Synergy and a member of the dance group tells MCL that they had first participated in IIT Kharagpur’s Spring Fest 2016 and won silver there. After that, one of the members of Synergy advised them to upload their dance video in the Indian Hip Hop Championship site. They had bleak hopes and weren’t even expecting to be selected. After a few days, they received a mail from them stating that they had been selected and their happiness knew no bounds.

They were selected in the Mega Crew division. After the confirmation mail, they decided to call a meeting to discuss how to go about the competition. As they wanted the best dancers to come together and perform, therefore they also roped in a local dancer who’s exceptionally good, a dancer from Bhubaneswar who’s studying in Class X, also a dancer from the Synergy Alumnus and a few others. All of them together formed the 25-member crew.

According to Sahu, the journey from Odisha to Mumbai to battle it out in the Indian Hip Hop championship has been an outstanding one. “I remember we were pitted against seven crews and we were extremely nervous. We were not given any fixed theme so we performed locking, popping, krumping, house and old school. We also didn’t have costumes to wear so we got them from the market there and designed it ourselves. We also booked a dance studio out there to practice. The alumni of our college helped us a lot. We were elated when the judges declared that we had bagged silver,” he recalls.

Being engineering students and having strict parents, the dreams of becoming a dancer can never be an easy task and these students too had their share of problems. “There were hurdles but we crossed them together. I won’t say that our college was extremely supportive initially but yes when we became winners, they started to take note of us.”

SNM crew

However, the challenges have grown manifold now for the world championship. In the crew, there are students who are in their final year and some of them have requested the college to postpone their internships to focus on the practice. Then there are students whose parents are not keen to send them to Las Vegas for the championship. Firstly, it requires a lot of money and secondly it would also mean that their engineering career would have to take a backseat.

The biggest problem for the crew, however, is paucity of funds. The expenditure for the entire trip would be a few lakh of rupees but arranging sponsors before August is giving them nightmares now.

Nishanth Ballal, another crew member tells us, “We are facing a lot of issues regarding funds. We have approached many places to help us arrange sponsors but we are not getting fruitful results. Also, there is not much help from the student activity centres to help us arrange sponsors. We have to study, practice and also look after sponsorships. That is not easy. Although it doesn’t look like we can arrange funds by August, the good thing is since we have qualified directly for the finale, we are also eligible to participate next year. So, in case we cannot make it this year, we will go next year, better prepared.”

“And in the meantime, we plan to participate in more number of workshops and competitions and improve ourselves even more,” he signs off.