Xopoc starts a dance, dance revolution


Biola’s dance troupe, Xopoc, takes to the gym floor for their Midnight Madness performance.

Dance. The word has become a kind of taboo here at Biola. But Xopoc is changing all that.

The team that junior Marshall Bang began last semester for Mock Rock is currently made up of over 30 Biola students who are passionate about dancing.

“The thing that sets us apart from other dance teams is that we’re all believers. We all love Christ,” said Bang, who is currently the director and choreographer for Xopoc.

“I use dancing as a form of worship…that’s what God gave me the ability to do, so I’m going to use it and give it back to him,” said freshman Candace Washington, a member of the team who has been dancing since the age of five.

Even biblical characters used dancing as a means of worship. When the Israelites were saved from Egypt, they used dancing as their first form of worship to God, Washington noted.

Bang actually started the first Xopoc dance team back in the summer of 2006 for a fundraiser; that’s where he came up with the name, which means dance in Greek.

“It’s actually pronounced ‘Zoroc’ – like Zoroc!” exclaimed Bang. But when they first saw the word, they thought it was pronounced ‘zopoc’, and so that name stuck – all the way to Biola.

Last spring, Xopoc combined with Biola’s previous dance team, Jump for Joy, to become an official club. Jump For Joy was around for about six or seven years at Biola, and differed from Xopoc in the style of dance as well as when they performed, according to senior Jocey Rogalski.

“With Jump For Joy, we mostly did our one dance recital each semester and kept to ourselves and if people wanted to come watch us it was their choice. Now we’re more involved in the school activities,” said Rogalski, who had been a member of Jump For Joy since her freshman year and is now a part of Xopoc.

Xopoc held auditions in September and had about 70 students show up. They picked 38 students for their final team, according to Bang.

They now hold practices every Monday and Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., except for the week before performances, which they lovingly refer to as “Heaven Week.” The week before the Midnight Madness pep rally, they practiced from 9 p.m. till about 1 or 2 a.m. every night, according to Bang.

The night before a performance, rehearsals can go on even longer, although Bang stressed that these late nights aren’t typical.

“The latest we went for Mock Rock last year was 4 in the morning, but this year on Friday night, we went from 9 p.m. till 6 in the morning…And a lot of us had to come back at 7 a.m. and do a run through for Midnight Madness,” said Bang. “That was the most intense we’ve every been. We’re never going to be like that ever again. EVER AGAIN.”

Of course, Xopoc isn’t all about hard work and late nights.

“We have so much fun. There was one night we were just rocking out to N’Sync. It was hilarious,” said Washington.

Even “Heaven Week” can be fun for the team.

“We all bonded like crazy. We went out to eat like everyday afterwards. I love every single one of them. They’re amazing,” Bang said.

“We are such a random group of people. Totally culturally mixed and ethnically mixed. We all have very different styles of dancing, but we just love each other,” said Rogalski. “It’s not just about dancing. We really enjoy each others’ presence.”

Most members have had some background in dance, whether it was intensive training at dance studios or participating in their high school team. They’re all pursuing their dreams: Bang wants to be a “triple threat” – actor, singer, dancer – while Washington would love to open her own studio, maybe even for praise dance. She’s really looking forward to the day when Biola offers a dance major. Until then, Xopoc offers a rewarding dance experience at Biola for its members.

“It’s been amazing to hear people say we did a good job…I’ve even walked through the café and heard people say, ‘oh, Xopoc’s performing tonight,’ like on the night of Midnight Madness. Just knowing that people know who we are is so exciting,” said Rogalski.

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