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TechUnique: More Than Technique

TechUnique at Interlude 2023

TechUnique (TU), Brooklyn Tech’s only open-style dance team, was established in a Dairy Queen in January 2018 by a group of students who had a passion for dance with nowhere to express it. Since then, they have expanded their influence, showcasing and competing in various competitions on the East Coast, primarily in the New York area.

With two seasons per year, aligning with Tech’s semesters, dancers auditioned for this year’s Generation 7.0 and 7.5 in August and December, respectively. While many of the members have had prior dance experience, tryouts are open to all. Anyone interested can attend the learning days, which are held before tryouts and include lessons led by senior members of the team who teach the audition dances.

“Teaching the choreographies is definitely nerve-racking, especially when you’re in a room full of people watching you,” said Choreographer Nadia Ren (‘25). “Being able to teach people something that I created is truly an honor.”

This year’s tryout pieces, dances to “Rosa Melo” by La Gabi and “Need You Right Here” by Chris Brown, were choreographed by Ren and Choreographer Dominique Dreyer (‘25), respectively. As open-style dancers, they focused on the musicality and lyrics of the songs they chose and tried to incorporate a diverse range of moves from different dance styles that would help bring out each member’s potential.

“My favorite part about choreographing is the endless amount of possibilities that you can choose from and being able to create something that’s fun and unique to you and your own body,” said Ren. “From choosing the song, to making the moves, you can slowly build up a piece that reflects your own ideas and visions.”

The dancers practice three days a week in the cafeteria or a rented studio. While they secure funding from the Club Team Council (CTC), they also pay expenses with member dues and fundraising, which eliminates the cost of members entering competitions and allows them to showcase their passion beyond the confines of the school.

Last year, the 25-member team placed third out of seventeen teams at Reign or Shine XV, an annual dance showcase and competition hosted by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. 

“That was our first time placing,” said Audrey Binder (‘24), TU’s Financial Manager. “I think winning isn’t everything, but just seeing everybody so happy and feeling so accomplished after a whole year of not placing was really fulfilling.”

The team has continued its upward trend this season, as TU brought home a silver medal from Reign or Shine XVI and placed third at SAYAW XIII, a dance competition at Stony Brook University. 

“Our wins this season felt unexpected but fulfilling,” said Connie Chan (‘24), sharing her pride in the recognition of the team’s hard work. “As a team, we always focus on performing our best rather than securing a win, so to me, it was an honor that we were able to place.”

TechUnique “Flash Friday” Hell Week

The dancers also win beyond the stage, building lasting friendships and connections through different events. They humorously refer to the week leading up to a major competition or showcase as Hell Week, where they have themed practices every day, bringing a fun bonding experience to an otherwise strenuous week. From Throwback Tuesdays to Studious Saturdays, members are encouraged to dress up and recreate famous dance scenes or moves.​​

“I haven’t been to practice in two days and I’ve been missing them,” said Director Serena Le (‘24). “I feel like they’re another part of me.”

The close connections that the members share offstage are reflected in their on-stage performances, especially when it comes to handling pre-performance jitters. Some dancers who do not get as nervous support those who do and help alleviate their stress. The members’ confidence in each other is a primary factor in their success.

“I think about all the hours that we spent working on it,” said Andreas Wieslander (‘24), TU’s Social Media Manager. “By the time there’s a competition or performance, all of us can do the choreography backward with our eyes closed.”

Beyond performing, TU also hosts its own events, including this year’s second annual Storm the Stage Dance and Step Competition,  which they co-hosted in the Brooklyn Tech auditorium alongside the celebrated Lady Dragons and Organized Chaos step teams. As the hosts, they brought together young dancers from various schools and dance companies all over New York City, to display their talent.

“We’ve never done this before,” said Binder of the Storm the Stage hosting experience. “At the end of the day, it was very fun getting to see other high school dance teams share the same passion as us — just spreading the love for dance around the school and around the community.” 

“Regardless if we’re placing or not, it’s about the journey and the amount of time we all put into doing this one thing together,” added Director Margaret Liang (‘24).

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About the Contributor
Rachel Mak
Rachel Mak, STEM Editor
Rachel Mak (she/her) is a Co-Editor of STEM and a Layout Editor. With her position on The Survey, Rachel hopes to look further into Tech’s community and inform people about their school’s student life. She sees journalism as an opportunity for marginalized voices to be heard and for people to stay informed. Rachel stays up-to-date on her interests, including her favorite sports teams and groundbreaking scientific discoveries, by reading The New York Times and Science News. Rachel hopes to pursue a career in biological research. Outside of journalism, Rachel is interested in biological research and is a Weston scholar. She is also a member of the varsity volleyball team at Tech. One of Rachel's current favorite books is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

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