Make your mark

The Portland State Hip-Hop Alliance will host the Make Your Mark jam on Saturday in the Smith Memorial Student Union ballroom. The jam will run from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and will be free to all PSU students.

Make Your Mark is an all-styles jam, meaning that any form of hip-hop dance is allowed. The PSHA hopes the event will promote the club’s expansive sense of diversity and holistic approach to dance.

“To sum us up, we’re just a big group of individuals who like to come together and dance,” said Hector Martinez, president of the PSHA.

Martinez said the group consists of b-boys, b-girls and hip-hop choreography dancers, though other dance disciplines like poppers, lockers and housers are welcome.

“Our mission is simple: To spread the positivity of hip-hop culture in Portland and at PSU through hip-hop dance,” Martinez said. “Our club is open and extremely welcoming to any PSU student who wants to be a part of it, and we welcome all skill levels.”

Martinez said Make Your Mark is the club’s first all-styles jam, and proof that the PSHA delves into all forms of hip-hop dance battling.

The jam is the brainchild of PSU student and PSHA member, Bao Ngoc Pham.

“She brought up the idea to us a few months ago, and as a team we’ve put the jam together,” Martinez said.

Make Your Mark will also feature a gallery of work from local artists, including Han Nguyen, Eric Mpwo, Harvey Cumez, Serg Vela and Oscar Alamo among others.

Make Your Mark is representative of the sheer scope and depth of hip-hop culture. The jam strives to make that readily apparent through exhibition rounds featuring a slew of different dance styles, one-on-one and three-on-three battles.

In addition to creating an inviting atmosphere for like-minded hip-hop enthusiasts, the PSHA has helped foster a sense of kinship and community that has further solidified the college experience for many of its members.

“Through dance, I learned so much about myself. I just can’t back away from it,” said Elle Tea, a breakdancer who got her start after moving from California to Portland in 2010. “Hip-hop culture is not just breakdancing, there’s so much to it.”

The club adopted its name in the spring, after going by Portland State Breaking Club for many years.

“The PSHA and the PSU Breaking Club have made my experience at PSU much more vibrant than if I never joined the club,” Martinez said. “Through the club I’ve met a bunch of new people, and have made many new friends. At this point many of the members hang out outside of club time, and I think that speaks about the connections that are made through the club.”

Martinez said Make Your Mark attendees could expect great music, skilled dancers and a fun vibe.