When the Filipino dance group The Crew picked up the gold medal in the Adult Division of the 2012 World Hip Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, it was a win not only for the members of The Crew, but one for the entire Filipino hip hop dance community.The Crew, a dance group started by University of the Philippines Streetdance Club founder Jerome Dimalanta, bested over 60 other groups to top the division ahead of runners-up Neutral Zone of Mexico and USA’s Academy of Villains at third place.
The Crew is composed of Xernan Alfonso, Jeremiah Carcellar, Miko Corrales, David Catabui, Sam Abriza, Ariel Alba, Kyle Sy and Erik Javier. Most are current or former members of UP Street.
Eight Filipino dance crews flew to the USA to compete in the prestigious annual event. The Crew joined the Philippine All-Stars, a two-time winner of the competition, Tha Project, A-Team, Legit Status, Fresh Flow, LSDC Street and UP Street.
“Sa buong Team Pilipinas,” wrote The Crew member Alfonso in a message on Facebook, addressing all of the other Filipino crews. “Sana hindi matapos dito ang pagkakaisa natin. Excited po ako kasama ang buong Crew na makipagtulungan sa inyo para buoin ang buong Hip Hop community sa Pilipinas.”
The entire Filipino contingent had come together to rally around a single battlecry in the competition: Pinas Pataas.
And with the win, that certainly looks to be the case in the dance world.
The Philippines now has three gold medals in the Adult Division of the World Hip Hop Dance Championship, the most of any country since the competition’s inception in 2003. Canada and the United Kingdom, with two golds each, are the only other countries with more than one.
The Philippines is also the only country where two different crews have won the gold. The Philippine All-Stars won the title in 2006 and 2008 before The Crew broke through in this year’s tilt. Both of UK’s titles were won by the same crew, Plague, and both Canada’s were won by Extreme.
Aside from The Crew, UP Street took home a bronze in the MegaCrew Division. Two other teams, The Philippine All-Stars and Tha Project, made it to semis of the Adult Division.
The Philippine All-Stars, composed entirely of junior members of the crew, barely missed the cut as only eight teams advance to the final round. They finished the semis in ninth place.
The World Hip Hop Dance Championship is organized by Hip Hop International, the same group that produces Randy Jackson presents America’s Best Dance Crew, where several Filipinos, including members of Season One champions JabbaWockeez and Season Three champions Quest Crew, have starred.
For now, the rallying cry isn’t just Pinas Pataas. “Pilipinas mataas,” declared Alfonso.