– Hip Hop Dance Club Members Jordan, Misaki, Mohammad, Thao, Tristan and Richie –
We all started dancing in different places and at different times—from Vietnam as a 4-year-old to Lincoln, Nebraska, as a junior in college. Everybody has a place here. Whenever somebody new wants to join, we’re like, “Yeah, welcome!” Everybody just fits in.
We come from all different backgrounds, but honestly, dance is a universal language. It’s just the language that everybody understands when they become involved with it. But our club would be really different without all of the international influence that we do have. Diversity is a huge part of hip-hop culture—it started in the Bronx and has since spread all over. It’s developed new methods and flavors in all different parts of the world. We bring those variations together and I think it gives us this complete picture of what hip-hop and hip-hop culture is today.
Free to Experiment
The first time each of us came to the club, it was a little intimidating. Dance is such an expressive thing and hip-hop is all about experimenting and trying out new moves, so it’s not easy to be comfortable doing it with a bunch of strangers. None of us knew what to expect or if our skill level would be good enough. It can be scary to jump into that type of situation. But this club is really free and welcoming, so it helped us to not care about what we looked like so much anymore. Being with everyone when they’re doing dumb stuff, or just playing around makes you feel free to experiment with new stuff and join in, too.
Coming to college is a lot different than high school in the sense that, in high school, everybody kind of knows each other. When you get to college, everybody kind of does their own thing, and if you’re not really a part of something, it can be hard to meet people. Clubs are a great way to meet people and sort of get a feel for what kind of people are at the university with you.
In our club, we collectively know a lot of people, which forms a big web of connections for all of us. Being able to connect to friends-of-friends-of-friends has definitely made the club a built-in network for us. It’s also really empowering and rejuvenating to dance together. We practice every day for at least three hours because we’re all really passionate about what we’re doing, and that bleeds into other aspects of our lives. For those of us in college, the club really represents a mental and physical release from class and homework and whatever else we have going on.
We all have different ways of describing what the club is to us. Weird, accepting, unique, passionate, more than dancing, adaptable, flexible, dynamic, or even just family are what come to mind right now.