How Local Crew The Sacred G’s Are Bringing Lights and Dance to Tempe | Phoenix New Times

How Local Crew The Sacred G’s Are Bringing Lights and Dance to Tempe

The troupe performs covered in LED lights.
The Sacred G’s performing in Las Vegas.
The Sacred G’s performing in Las Vegas. The Sacred G’s
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The Tempe Jam outdoor event on Friday, October 21, is first and foremost a concert, featuring performances by local favorites Banana Gun, Paper Foxes, and The Stakes

But you may want to stay in your seat between sets, because that's when The Sacred G's take the stage.

The Sacred G’s are a local dance troupe illuminating events around the country with their fluid yet hard-hitting gesticulations 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.

Utilizing LED lights in dance began when ravers in the late '90s brought them to clandestine events. "Rave culture took the style and adapted it to when we put lights on our fingers and created like illusions," says Orbit, a member of the troupe. "We use light to guide the style, including finger dancing, a sub-genre of the various popping dance styles."

In their performances, The Sacred G's groove in synchronized robotic-like dance movements. Some of the crew occasionally break out of the second-by-second synchronicity, then spin and gyrate feverishly on their hands, defying gravity.

"We are all street dancers," explains Vo Vera, one of The Sacred G's founders. "We come from the underground hip-hop community, and there's like this umbrella in the hip-hop community where we all come from different crews, different walks of life, and we all have different styles that we have trained in."

On October 21, besides the LED suits, some of the group will wear mesh suits. "We're going to use those for the beginning of the piece to tell a storyline, a thematic piece," Vo Vera explains, "which has to do with collective consciousness splitting off into souls revolving into human form. And then, these souls in human form interact with aliens, who will be the LED dancers. So we'll perform a blend of street dance styles in the LED and mesh suits."
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Vo Vera (second dancer on the left): "These souls in human form interact with aliens, who will be the LED dancers."
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"And we got poppers, animators, and tutters," Vo Vera continues, which are three types of street dancing, and some would argue are subgenres of breakdancing dating back to the '70s and '80s. Popping is where the dancers pop their body parts by relaxing and then contracting the body muscles to the beat so the body or body parts "hit" or "pop." Animators, as they sound, portray a character in a dance type of movement — a robot being a popular character popularized by pre-Thriller Michael Jackson. Tutters, derived from the "King Tut" era, are dancers who imitate old Egyptian drawings. The dancers mimic the portrayed characters' hands which are pointed in specific directions, usually at 90-degree angles, then when the dancers shift the hands in another direction, the arms and rest of the body follow the lead of the pointed "tut" hands.

"And there's a little bit of house dance," Vo Vera says, which are heel and step "jack" dance moves, "and top rocking," preliminary dance steps on two feet, in breaking, done before getting down onto the floor.

The Sacred G's get booked around the U.S. for their novel approach to infusing LEDs into multimedia presentations. This includes their street and club dance styles, along with other elements of their hip-hop base — street art and muralism, rapping or MCing, and adding striking poetic verses, leadership overtones, spoken word, DJing, and music production.

"We get more work in our LED suits out of state," Vo Vera says. "I guess there's not a lot of people doing this fusing LED wear technology and street dance, especially not with our kind of suits — ours are custom and are fully programmable where the suits are programmed to the music."

Tempe Jam starts 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 out, The Sacred G's next gig will be at ExperiMeant It! 1.1, a new "open styles dance battle and platform," according to the event page, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Galvin Playhouse on ASU's Tempe campus.
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