To a handful of Virginia Tech students, dancing is their drug. This explains why “Dop,” the name of a student-run hip-hop dance crew at Virginia Tech, is pronounced like the slang for drugs “dope.”
Senior political science major Andrew Ton, junior industrial design major Matt Manganti and junior psychology major Edlene Fronteras are the three founding members of Dop, which stands for “dance’s our
What began as just the three of them free-styling and sharing choreography with one another quickly turned into a far greater project.
The crew became official in May 2009 with Fronteras joining right as they had their first performance at the college graduation party for Manganti’s older sister for close family and friends.
Over the past year, news slowly spread about Dop among friends of the group.
“Our friends were really supportive of what we were doing, they started talking about it a lot because they thought it was cool,” Manganti said. “It’s not something we pushed for, but we just ran with it.”
Since its inception, Dop has had the opportunity to travel around Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., which has allowed them to further integrate themselves into the local dance community.
Though the dance culture in Blacksburg is certainly not as prevalent as those in New York City or L.A., Ton said it has allowed everyone to be that much more supportive toward one another and become close-knit. They’ve also taken classes from well-known crews such as Jabbawockeez, So Real Crew and Boogie Bots.
“People were hesitant at first to dance with us because we were not well recognized, but now after having much more support, it’s good,” Fronteras said.
Dop’s viral effect grew as it held auditions in February where at least 30 people came out to the audition workshop and five new members were added to the crew.
Dop has only performed two times this past month and Ton said a lot of their credibility and success as a group has been based on word of mouth and people preaching its message.
Dop’s second performance was at the 2009 Asian American Student Union’s Got Talent where, by vote from the audience, it won first place.
“I feel real blessed, especially for the new kids (in the crew) to come in and get first place,” Ton said. “It was a test of how good our support base is.”