The house music blared through the speaker over instructor David Charumbhumi’s voice as he repeated, “one and two and three and four.” He stood in the front of the room hitting each beat with his body in rhythm with the music. Students moved to the beat of Charumbhumi’s moves adding their own style while they loosely swung their upper bodies back and forth then side to side to the upbeat tempo
Every Tuesday at 8 p.m. students and faculty at Stony Brook University are invited to join PUSO’s Modern Dance Group, a small branch of the Philippine Student Organization, for a hip-hop centric workout.
Each week students learn a different dance instructed by a variety of the team’s undergraduate members. The volunteers change every week to give variety and experience to other dancers on the team as well as participants.
The class is free to all undergraduate students. In order to attend, students are required to visit the Campus Recreation Center website and register.
Last week, Charumbhumi taught a style of hip-hop called housing. He taught a series of six moves, including the body roll, heel step, loose legs and others, then combined them with music.
“The moves are pretty basic, so you can combine them with almost any house song. The goal is to hit the beat with your upper body while the lower half of your body consistently changes rhythm,” Charumbhumi said.
The weekly fitness class gives people who are not members a chance to see what it is like to be a part of the modern hip-hop team. For some of the 15 participants it was their first time learning housing. Other participants were members of the team who were familiar with the moves.
“This dance is supposed to be fun. It’s a very happy dance. Housing is a freestyle based dance, and once you get the moves down, you can add your own style to it,” Charumbhumi said.
PUSO Modern currently has 29 members and according to their website, has been an organization on campus since 1998. PUSO Modern participates in several on and off-campus showcases and competitions. According to the team director, junior Nerricka Nalundasan, the team only recently started competing out-of-state in Spring 2012. Their 2012 Seawolves Winterfest half-time performance was broadcasted on television at Madison Square Garden. In 2010 and 2011, the team placed first in Stony Brook’s version of America’s Best Dance Crew. In last year’s Defining Rhythm Urban Dance Competition, they placed 5th overall in the East Coast, according to their website.
The Philippine-based organization is not exclusive to Filipino students. “The organization is accepting of all cultures, but most members are predominantly Filipino,” Charumbhumi said.
Stony Brook University student and 2013 to 2014 captain of PUSO, Justin Armamento-Martinez said, “Filipino culture is highly encouraging of the arts. Our passion and drive to dance comes from the fact we’ve been doing it our whole lives.”