Punkak Java made a huge splash at the World of Dance Mexico City 2017 competition as 1st-place upper division winners. Their unique choreography impressed the judges, and they walked away with an impressive 100-point performance.

The Punkak Java Crew

  • Ana Sofía Polo González: Xalapa, Veracruz.
  • José Angel Castellanos Tapia: Jaltipan, Veracuz.
  • Ariel Nicole Calero Orozco: Nanchital, Veracruz.
  • Guadalupe Almeida Ramos: Xalapa, Veracruz.
  • Alexis Cordova Zetina: Las Choapas, Veracruz.
  • Reyna del Carmen López Velázquez: Acayucan, Veracruz.
  • Alfredo Betanzos Garrido: Nanchital, Veracruz.
  • Julio Alfredo Mendoza López: Córdoba, Veracruz.
  • Eugenia Astrid Valencia Rabanales: Puerto de Veracruz.
  • Denisse Rodríguez Rucabado: Minatitlan, Veracruz.
  • Joseph Torres Quiroz: Nanchital, Veracruz.
  • Emmanuel Marcos Gonzáles Torres: Las Choapas, Veracruz.
  • Esmeralda Guadalupe Jiménez Hernández: Acayucan, Veracruz.
  • Joael Rodríguez Domínguez: Xalapa, Veracruz.
  • Martha Julieta Blanco Zapata: Tuxpán, Veracruz.

We recently caught up with the crew to find out what it was like to perform, what inspired them to get together in the first place, and why dance means so much. Here’s what they said.

WOD: Can you give us a little background about the crew?

PJ: In 2014 we met in college, and we all studied contemporary dance in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. The project started with 6 students who shared a passion for dancing hip-hop, and our first presentation together was in 2015 in Cordoba city, where we won first place in statewide and 10th place in nationals. However, we wanted to involve more dancers in the project, so we held auditions and chose 9 people.

WOD: What were you feeling going into the competition?

PJ: At first we were really nervous and excited because we had an unusual choreographic proposal—it’s not the same concept and movement that people usually see in a hip-hop choreography.

Punkak Java World of Dance

WOD: What was your favorite part of competing in World of Dance?

PJ: When we stepped on the stage and started dancing. Having that feeling was incredible because we knew our proposal was completely different.

WOD: What do you think helped you win?

PJ: It was the concept of the choreography, and as a part of it, the message. We wanted to touch people’s hearts and make them think about and reflect on the situation we are living in nowadays in our country. The judges said: “I don’t know what I felt, but you made me feel something and that’s worth to see.”

Punkak Java World of Dance

WOD: What exciting things will you be doing/focusing on in the next year?

PJ: Sharing Mexican culture as much as we can and, most important Veracruz culture. We want to express an emotion, a sensation, and an understandable message.

WOD: Why do you think dance is important to the world?

PJ: Because it helps to express, to feel, to share and set free all types of emotions in both dancers and spectators—emotions we usually don’t let go so easy in life. And in this case, we wanted to share a clear message, a raw reality, and an actual situation reflected in a scene.

Punkak Java World of Dance

WOD: What’s your favorite part about being a crew?

PJ: Discovering a new family and the excitement of knowing there are other people with the same interest and objectives. Also the fact that we support each other anytime, in any case, and are able to enjoy this beautiful art called dancing.

To keep up with Punkak Java, follow them on Facebook

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