The Phoenix Suns weren't the only ones that lit up the court during their latest home game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Footprint Center. ASU's AZNA Dance troupe put on an impressive display of skill and talent as the primetime performance.
Performing to a medley of K-pop and hip-hop hits, ASU's first and only Asian-American centric open-style choreography organization, AZNA Dance put on a breathtakingly smooth performance of their precise choreography and in-sync coordination just before tip-off last night.
"Honestly, this is probably like our biggest gig yet, and then for me, personally, this is also like my biggest gig yet. And it's just very nerve wracking," said Yarfa Junudi, an AZNA dancer and second year student studying nursing. "But it's also very wonderful working with everyone. We put a lot of hard work into it. We literally practiced until midnight last night, four hour practice. We were going all in."
"I would say at this point, this is like our first performance where we were dancing for the Arizona community outside of our University, so this is really big," said Nikita Joyner, an AZNA dance coordinator and third year student studying fashion. "We're getting our name out there, getting our name circulating in the Arizona dance community."
While an NBA basketball game may be one of the organization's biggest audiences, AZNA is no stranger to putting on a show.
The dance crew has performed at several ASU events including ASU Culture Night, International Night, the annual Sol Power hip-hop festival and several showcases throughout the years.
"I think it was just a very emotional experience for all of us," said Brandy Perez, an AZNA dancer and second year student studying forensic psychology "To be here ... it's just an honor for everyone. And just representing ASU and everyone here was a great feeling."
"I don't think I knew how real it was until I got here," said Lindsey Tober, an AZNA dancer and second year student studying technological leadership. "Our training was honestly pretty intense. I mean, we were practicing at least two times a week for a couple hours, and this has been going on for a few months ... It's been so much fun to practice, and have a goal to lead up to."
While the team's performance was a little under three minutes in duration, the crew trained and had been practicing for nearly eight months for it. They made sure to give it their all and put in the work to represent ASU on the court, and it certainly showed.
"One of our sister (Asian/Asian Pacific American Student) coalitions, they had signed up to perform for the Suns. And ... this year we're kind of trying to branch out of ASU, we saw that as an opportunity," Joyner explained. "So we just asked for the contact information and then it was a whole roller coaster of ups and downs, but this team we pulled through. We pulled through and we put on like one of the best performances ever."
Despite the Suns' loss against the Bucks, the AZNA dancers couldn't help but feel hopeful for the opportunities the futures held for the group. Having conquered the court and taken the stage, the possibilities are limitless for the passion-driven performers.
"At this point, the next step is inter-state comps, in-state comps, and we're gonna just kind of try to keep going," Joyner said. "But the heart of AZNA is giving free dance to the community. So, no matter where we go, that'll be what we do."
You can catch more of AZNA's choreography, performances and additional information on their Instagram or YouTube channel, or join them for general meetings every Friday evening at the SDFC Serenity Studio.
Edited by Claire van Doren, Reagan Priest and Grace Copperthite.
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Analisa Valdez is a reporter with the Echo, focusing on covering the arts and entertainment world. Analisa has been apart of the State Press for two and a half years and is in her third year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.