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A Local Hip-Hop Troupe's Meaningful Steps

Local award-winning dance team Choreo Cookies has a message to serve with those smooth moves.


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Photo by Saradpon Photography

For Choreo Cookies, dancing isn’t just about flow and synchronicity. The San Elijo–based dance team is just as focused on bringing powerful social messages to light through their intricate choreography.

Last year they earned first prize at the Vibe Dance Competition in Orange County for their portrayal of the plight of orphans, and donated the $2,000 prize to the humanitarian organization World Vision. On January 31, the group will defend its title during the next Vibe event in Costa Mesa.

Founded in Oceanside in 2002 by Eddie Macaranas and Emmett Agapay as a way for their group of friends to dance together, Choreo Cookies began competing after merging with another company in 2007. Since then, they’ve also earned wins at San Diego’s Body Rock Dance Competition in 2013 and 2014.

“We are hip-hop based with a hint of every style,” says Kevin Banares, 27. “A lot of team members have studied jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. We’ve mixed in salsa, one year we did tap, and our last set had break dancing.” 

Choreo Cookies has 31 members, who join by invitation only. Directors Carlo Darang and Jason Patio develop themes and select members to choreograph the routines. 

“We always try to be intentional,” says team member Tess Garnica, 22. “For ‘Orphans,’ our theme was selflessness. We wanted to show that dance could be more than just dance, that we could make an impact.”

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