The outdoor event Tempe Jam on Friday, October 21 is first and foremost a concert, with performances by local favorites Banana Gun, Paper Foxes and The Stakes
But you might want to stay in your seat between sets, because that’s when the Sacred Gs come into play.
The Sacred G’s are a local dance troupe that light up events across the country with their fluid yet punchy gestures topped with hundreds of mini LED lights. In one of their performances, the dancers wear faceless outfits in an all-black ensemble adorned with over 100 LED lights per dancer.
The use of LED lights in dancing began when late 90s ravers brought them to underground events. “Rave culture has taken the style and adapted it to when we put lights on our fingers and create like illusions,” says cast member Orbit. “We use light to guide the style, including the finger dance, a subgenre of the various popping dance styles.”
In their performances, The Sacred G grooves in synchronized robotic-like dance moves. Some crew members occasionally break out of synchronicity second by second, then feverishly toss and turn on their hands, defying gravity.
“We’re all street dancers,” says Vo Vera, one of the founders of The Sacred G. “We come from the underground hip-hop community, and there’s like this umbrella in the hip-hop community where we we all come from different crews, different backgrounds, and we all have different styles that we’ve trained in.”
On October 21, in addition to the LED suits, some band members will be wearing mesh suits. “We’re going to use them for the beginning of the piece to tell a story, a thematic piece,” Vo Vera explains, “that has to do with the collective consciousness splitting into souls that transform into human form. And then, these souls in human form interact with aliens, who will be the LED dancers, so we will be performing a mix of street dance styles in the LED and mesh suits.
“And we have poppers, poppers, and tutters,” Vo Vera continues, which are three types of street dance, and some would say they’re subgenres of breakdancing dating back to the 70s and 80s. popping is where dancers pop their body parts by relaxing and then contracting the muscles of the body to the rhythm so that the body or body parts “kick” or “pop”. The animators, as they sound, portray a character in a type of dance move – a robot being a popular character popularized by pre-Thriller Michael Jackson. The Tutters, from the “King Tut” era, are dancers who imitate ancient Egyptian designs. The dancers imitate the hands of the depicted figures which are pointed in specific directions, usually at 90 degree angles, then when the dancers move the hands in another direction, the arms and the rest of the body follow the example of the pointed hands “tut”. .
“And there’s a bit of house dancing,” Vo Vera says, which are heel-and-step “jack” and top rocking dance moves, preliminary dance steps on two feet, in breaking, performed before descend to the ground.
The Sacred G’s are sought after in the United States for their innovative approach to integrating LEDs into multimedia presentations. This includes their street and club dancing styles, as well as other elements of their hip-hop base – street art and muralism, rapping or MCing, and the addition of striking poetic verse, connotations of leadership, spoken word, DJing and music production.
“We get more work in our out-of-state LED suits,” says Vo Vera. “I guess there aren’t many people doing this fusion of LED technology and street dancing, especially not with our type of costumes – ours are custom made and are fully programmable where the costumes are. programmed to music.”
Tempe Jam begins at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, October 21, at the Tempe Sports Complex, 8401 South Hardy Drive, and is free to attend. And if you can’t make it, The Sacred G’s next show will be at ExperiMeant It! 1.1, a new “open styles battle and dance platform,” according to the event page, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Galvin Playhouse on ASU’s Tempe campus.