Troupes ‘bling’ in spring show

After a week of intense rehearsals, Mahogany Dance Theatre and the Strikers will represent the university in this weekend’s Spring Bling dance competition.

The two groups will compete against eachother and other dance troupes in Daytona Beach Friday through Sunday.

“Revamped,” presented by BET, will consist of 20 dance organizations from across the country competing to win an opportunity to recreate a celebrity video that will be judged by celebrity guests and BET producers. Shapiro Hardemon, founder of Mahogany Dance Theatre and the Strikers, said Mahogany’s routine consists of three elements: technical modern, hip-hop and funk.

They will demonstrate their skills in terms of ballet, urban freestyle movement and a taste of South Florida flavor.

“They take funk to another level and make it look classy with a lot of personality and precision,” Hardemon said. “It doesn’t look vulgar or offensive.”

The Strikers’ dance combination also includes a mixture of hip-hop and street dancing. Andre Cunningham, the president of Strikers, wants to dispel any myths that they only appeal to women spectators.

“We try to cater to all audiences, which I think we do,” Cunningham said.The Strikers are no strangers to mainstream coverage.

They have appeared on several syndicated networks including ABC, NBC and CBS. They have also appeared and won on Showtime at the Apollo in 1993 and 2000

According to Hardemon, Mahogany has never danced or competed on that level before and this will be their time to shine.

“They work hard,” said NeShae Williams, Mahogany’s artistic director. “They’re very talented and the world needs to see the pool of talent that they have. Mahogany is very versatile, it’s time for them to get national exposure because they’re good enough.”

Because this was not a planned event, neither organization was financially prepared for the travel expenses.

Hardemon said they have been working hard to secure adequate funding for costumes, transportation, food and hotel accommodations and welcome any form of support.

Nevertheless, Mahogany and Strikers’ financial status will not stop them from giving their all. They are grateful for the opportunity that they have been given.

“All of this came on a whim,” Hardemon said. “It has truly been a blessing.”

Sherry Culmer can be reached at