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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

You Can Dance if You Want to

On Monday afternoons, the Flag Room transforms into a dance floor.

Brendan Tom stands on his head and spins continuously like a top. Ryan Nash holds a freeze upside-down using only his arms to hold his body from touching the ground.

The rest of the UB Breakdance Club forms a half-moon around the performers, watching the complicated dance moves and listening to the rhythmic music.

Break dancing is perceived as an intense, forceful style of street dance, originating from the African American and Latin hip-hop cultures from New York City during the 1970s.

UB Breakdance Club explains that the media misinterprets its art of dance by depicting dancers as aggressive and dangerous.

"We're not trying to be thugs or gansters because obviously it's not making us any cooler," said Tom, vice president of UB Breakdance Club and a sophomore communication major. "Everyone thinks we need security in our events…I've been to so many competitions where it may look dangerous but it's actually friendly competition. It's the greatest moment after a battle is over and everyone is shaking hands."

To the club's members, breakdancing is an important element of their lives. This style of dance is unique and hard to perfect, but the payoff can be great.

"You can practice a move for years and still not have it down," Tom said. "[We're] trying to educate the community on what breaking is and… [that] it's more than a bunch of kids coming together and spinning in circles."

The UB Breakdance Club started off as just a crew of dancers who were called Rhythm Renegades, but soon became a full-fledged club as the number of members increased. They became a club that teaches new members about breakdancing.

"[The club hasn't had] any causalities yet, but there are dangers. You just have to take proper precaution like you would with anything [risky]," said Bryan Kao, a sophomore accounting major and the club's treasurer.

The club participates in events in nearby cities and its members hone their skills and introduce new members to competitions. Although the club has only won a few competitions, the overall experience is what's important.

Nash, president of UB Breakdance Club and a sophomore urban and public policy major, explains that competitions expose new members to the breakdancing scene. Competitions also motivate veteran members to flaunt their skills and show off their best moves.

"[It's] your chance to show who you are through your dance. You want to win, but you want to express yourself," Tom said.

All members of the club come from different backgrounds and levels of experience with dance. Although they all have different reasons for why they love to dance, their passion for breakdance keeps them coming back.

Tom explains that the feelings he gets while dancing are unparalleled and that he could never see himself stopping.

"The emotions I am feeling I express through dance," Tom said. "I have a bad day, or I'm really sad, I dance the sadness away…I use it as a way to express all the emotions I'm feeling at the time."

The unique style and high energy of breakdancing separate it from other forms of dance, and the never-ending possibilities mean it will never get boring.

"In breaking there are an infinite number of moves. You feel that you can one up yourself, [and it] drives me to be the best I can be," Nash said.





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