Hey dance lovers, mark your calendars. The Baja’s Best Dance Crew competition starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at the Cultural Pavilion of the Republic on the Marina in Cabo. The event is an amateur competition that features troupes of all ages and skill levels from area dance schools.
Suzanne Bundey, who organizes the events with her partner, Antony Kachy Gutierrez, says there are usually between 12-15 schools competing each year. All of the music is modern, and the styles of dance performed are mixed.
Four judges score the dancers on things like costume, personality, technique, skill level and presentation. There are also prizes for the best junior and senior dancers, which are decided by the audience. There are three different dance categories that are judged: primary, for ages 12 and under; secondary, for ages 13 to 18; and a free category, which is mixed ages. The free category is the hardest to win (and probably the most fun to watch) because that’s the category that draws those who want to be professional dancers.
This year, the prize for the free category is bound to inspire some fierce competition. The five members from the winning team will get their flights and entry fees paid for so they can travel to Mexico City and compete in Hip Hop International, the biggest dance competition in Mexico.
The prizes for the other categories include a lot of local activities, like camel rides, ATV rides, zip lining, a private tour on La Gringa, (Our boss? People tour her? Well, she is kind of an old fossil), and tickets to Funtastico´s Lazer and Games. Suzanne says they wouldn’t be able to offer these types of prizes without support from their sponsors, especially their principal sponsors: Ultrafemme, Toyota, Cabo Escape and Funtastico Extreme Fun & Games.
Even though there are prizes involved, Suzanne says she tries to stress to the dancers that this is a fun event, and that the main goal is just to show off their dancing. “It’s more about getting exposure and experience performing in front of a huge crowd,” she says. “Just dance because you love it. Everything’s positive.”
This is the 8th year for the event, which started in a theater in San Jose. But as the event, and the audience, has grown, the competition has had to change venues several times. Last year was the first year they moved the competition to the open air theater of the pavilion because they were overfilling the theater inside. Suzanne says they easily filled the 1,300 seats in the outdoor theater and still had people standing. She recommends arriving early so you can be sure to get a seat.
And be ready to scream and yell for your favorite dancers. This is the point. This isn’t some boring dance recital where everyone sits quietly and then politely gives the clap when the numbers are over. The crowd really gets into it, Suzanne says, bringing balloons, clappers and even drums, and cheering loudly for their dancers. The dancers try to pack the audience with their cheer section. There’s also an emcee for the event, Roberto Angles, who is a former Cabo Mil radio host.