North Texas Daily

Take it to the streets: the art of dance

Take it to the streets: the art of dance

Take it to the streets: the art of dance
October 08
01:48 2015

Kyle Martin | Staff Writer


There are a myriad of approaches to dancing, but the freestyle form has become one of the most popular with this generation. Movies like “Step Up,” “You Got Served,” “Stomp the Yard” and many more highlight the lengths at which bodies can be taken in the art of dancing, serving as inspiration and motivation for dancers all over the world.

For a few North Texas students, it’s become a passion they’ve dedicated a large piece of their lives to.

Interdisciplinary arts and design senior Taj-Micah Campbell calls up the crew every once in awhile to lead a “sesh,” a random group gathering of freestyle dancing. It could be anywhere, anytime, but when it’s going down people really show out.

“In a sense we’re practicing, but it doesn’t feel like we’re practicing,” Campbell said. “We’re all just going off each other’s vibes and dancing.”

They call themselves “street dancers,” and they all share a love for the art of dance. In these sessions, people have the chance to release emotions, creativity, stress and excitement. But more importantly, it’s simply a chance to dance. Campbell has been dancing for nearly eight years and plans to keep his passion going.

“Before, we used to do it more frequently, but this year starting off we haven’t been proactive,” Campbell said.

With everyone’s busy schedule, it’s hard to put aside time for a session outside of homework, jobs and extracurricular activities, but somehow they all still meet when the time comes, and that makes each encounter all the more special.

Spontaneous gatherings on campus are a normal thing for Walker and friends, but competitions are entirely different. Walker sometimes makes trips out to the Dallas and Plano areas for “battles,” or competitive dance events, with computer science sophomore Tristan Shelton.

Battles are where dancers really test their skills and get to call out other dancers to see who is the “best of the best.” These events are set up bracket style, meaning they can be one-on-one, two-on-two, or crew-on-crew. The goal is to eliminate the opposing dancer(s) to make it to the top. There is often prize money involved, adding an edge to the competition. But artists are usually more interested in seeing who has the most fine-tuned and impressive skills.

“You’ve got to be on top of your stuff,” Campbell said.

At these competitions, what should be held above all else is a respect for the dancers and their performances.

Shelton notes that often times, those who are more focused on the competition will get in people’s faces and call them out too aggressively. Once he ran into a dancer that he said was a little too eager to hit the floor and challenge him.

“Some people take the fun out of it because they take it too seriously,” Shelton said. “It should be about having fun and enjoying the experience.”

Breaking down and getting the body moving is what kinesiology junior Aunzhané Walker is all about. A dancer since she was 10 years old, Walker sometimes attends the campus sessions, She said she finds joy in the art.

“I started out watching these shows like ‘Dance 360’ and ‘Dance Club 21’ and then I started mimicking the moves,” Walker said. “From there, that’s when I started practicing.”

Walker said she would practice anywhere she can find: an empty room, a vacant studio, anywhere on campus–she just loves to dance. She said she wants to spread her love of dance through teaching.

“By the end of the year, I want to have at least 50 students,” Walker said. “I want to help kids understand they can do anything they want to.”

In her spare time, Walker teaches kids to bust a move and let their bodies do what they want to the beat of the music. Freestyle dancing is about just that–being free. Walker said there’s a different aspect to dance that lets people express themselves in ways they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

“You’re speaking from your soul when you dance,” Walker said. “You see people dance, and you see them speak with their bod[ies].”

Featured Image: Courtesy | Wikimedia Commons

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