Uptempo hip-hop tracks play through a bluetooth speaker as dancers gather in a cipher, each taking their turn to step into the center ring and showcase their moves. There’s elements of pop-locking and strutting, as well as ballroom and some salsa. And because we’re in the Bay, there’s plenty of turf dancing.
While founding member of the crew, Tarik Rollerson, is partial to the Los Angeles style of krumping, he first developed his love of dance in Oakland.
Rollerson is a third generation dancer from the Town, who combines the West African dance lessons his parents and grandparents taught him with other styles of dance he’s learned from his community. He uses it all to tell stories on the dance floor.
And inside the weekly labs, he and the 1Up Crew share techniques and tips on freestyling or choreographed group routines.
Ahead of an upcoming battle, where the jackpot is a cold two-thousand dollars, I stopped by In The Groove Studios on a Wednesday night to understand what it takes to win over a crowd and kill it during a dance battle.
Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.