Wolfpack: Hip-Hop Savants Continue to Dazzle

Cooper Lowell, Staff Writer

For this year’s Spring Dancefest, Wolfpack, a hip-hop based dance group, came out on stage in full force, their first dance opening with “Malamente” by Rosalia and “New Tooth” by Rich Brian followed by “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar.

The original idea of Wolfpack was to put male dancers front and center while fusing different genres of dance based around hip-hop, as senior and Wolfpack President Dechok De explained.

“It was built upon the idea that men should also and could also dance, and that it shouldn’t really be given negative connotations or frowned upon; [Dance] should be more prevalent for males,” he said.

However, in recent years, Wolfpack has evolved, with the group opening itself up to all genders. This change has altered not only the makeup of the group, but also styles and influence that create the dynamics seen on stage.

“We ultimately decided that we will be taking more female members. And so Wolfpack is more, not based on being male or female, but ultimately it’s a hip hop centric dance group. We’re welcoming different styles of dancing, whether it be house or more contemporary, but … . We focus a lot on hip hop songs,” De said.

Co-Vice President and junior Richard Baker also talked about how the group has changed over the years as the size of Wolfpack continues to grow.

“Because we have a lot more people this semester, we have like 18, which is the most we’ve had since I’ve been here, we had to do it so that not everyone was on stage at the same time. So we would have certain people come on certain days, if they were doing a certain dance and then kind of rotate like that,” Baker said. “And so you’ll notice like in the [replay] video, if you watch it back, some people come offstage and come off the stage. And that’s just for the sake of making sure that all 18 of us aren’t taking up space and you know, looking messy.”

As for the performances, behind every step, move and groove, there was genuine hard work put into Wolfpack’s craft. Each semester the group comes together to make something beautiful upon the stage, De explained.

“But it’s also a time for us to appreciate how much work we’ve put in throughout the semester. It’s one performance that is a three minute song that just encapsulates a whole semester of [countless] hours of practicing … to create something for [the] campus to enjoy, but also for something we can be proud of,” he said. 

While looking back, De reflected upon his time spent with Wolfpack and how this dance group goes deeper than just their performances.

“It was definitely something I relied on a lot. It was a backbone for me to have a space for self-expression. Obviously this semester’s really challenging, and you can go through a lot of emotional roller coasters. And I just think that Wolfpack was always a solid place for me to enjoy time with people who also enjoyed dancing.”

Beyond just being a group that grows along with its members, Wolfpack is a community. Junior Josh Kim talked about the leaders of Wolfpack and their impact on the dancers.

“The current leaders at Wolfpack — Dechok De, Richard Baker, Julia Zaborowsky and Kenny Lam — have made the group so inclusive and creatively rich. They create the choreography every semester and set the tone for the group as a collaborative, hard-working space for people to feel accepted and accomplished. I joined Wolfpack to challenge myself as an artist, but I’ve been lucky enough [to find] myself a family through this dance group,” Kim said.

Debatably the most impressive part of Wolfpack is how most of the team’s dancing experience comes from their time here at Colgate. 

“Everyone is generally surprised when I tell them I don’t really have much experience going into Colgate. And I think most of the people who join Wolfpack … do K-pop, for instance, but for most part, nobody has a formal training like other groups. So I guess I would just say, because of that, we all kind of understand that we’re there to get better and like no one expects you to be perfect. I think we’re going in a good place. But obviously next semester, I’ve always loved to plug Wolfpack for people to audition next semester,” Baker said.