What Side? East Side

Dance club ignites school spirit


photo credit: Gloria Olajimi

Get into it \\ Reviewing their latest routine, East Side Crew vice president Crystal Macalisang leads the group as they prepare for the upcoming pep rally Oct. 21. Having rarely performed during the 2020-2021 school year, the crew returns to their regular performance routine with excitement. “I think, overall, this year’s dances are going to be our best ones yet,” Macalisang said.

writer: Gloria Olajimi, Editor-in-Chief

The gym is abuzz as they make their way to the center of the court. Zoning out the cheers and hollering of the student body, they focus in for their show. This is the moment they’ve been waiting for: the moment the East Side Crew performs for a school pep rally. 

The East Side Crew is a hip hop club in which students learn dances to perform at school pep rallies. The club began by the combined efforts of former student Sebastian Garcia and Sapphire Director Stephanie Jackson in 2017. His passion for the club encouraged students such as sophomore Camille Benton to join. 

“He always inspired me and I wanted to be able to be part of something at school,” Benton said. 

I think what I enjoy most is watching the dancers grow, seeing the pieces come together, and the family I’ve made here

— Naomi Rodriguez, senior

In preparation for performances, club members choose songs to dance to, choreograph a dance, and choose outfits. With the direction of leaders president Bernadette Juntilla and vice president Crystal Macalisang, all members work together to produce the final product. 

“The choreography depends on the song and the beats; we go off the song. If the crew has opinions on a song, we’ll work together to choose one. We try to put our minds together and have the crew help out,” Macalisang said. 

Students get to perform at pep rallies, showcases, basketball games and talent shows. The East Side Crew expects to perform during the next pep rally Oct. 21. 

“Last year we got to perform at the Sapphire showcase,” Benton said. “It was magical once we were on stage. I didn’t get to perform in front of people for a long time because of COVID, but we were still able to do the performance, and I loved how the crowd cheered for us and how we were like a true family.”

The East Side Crew aspires to nurture students’ dancing skills and love for the art. Students, such as Macalisang, usually join the club because of their dancing backgrounds or love for the performing arts.

“I like dancing, especially hip hop. I remember when I was a freshman, the president at the time was performing and when I saw her performing, I decided that was what I wanted to do,” Macalisang said.

Above dancing and performing, students, such as former president Naomi Rodriguez, treasure the meaningful relationships they develop with the crew members. 

“I think what I enjoy most is watching the dancers grow, seeing the pieces come together, and the family I’ve made here,” Rodriguez said. 

To see their latest updates, follow East Side Crew on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eastsidewehs/

“Next pep rally is going to be crazy, so stay tuned,” Macalisang said.