Dancing for a cause

Jessica Allman, Staff Writer

Senior Eugene Soh spends hours a week practicing his breakdancing, which is a popular style of hip-hop originating in Bronx, New York.

Soh wasn’t always into dancing. He joined the club dancing for a cause upon the recommendation of a friend two years back.

“I thought I would try it out,” Soh said. “My parents were saying things like, ‘You’re going to break something,’ but I wasn’t worried.”

Soh decided to join the club not only for the dancing aspect of it, but because the club is also very involved with helping the community.

“We spend time together doing community service and hosting events that generate income,” Soh said. “For the past two years, the profits have been donated to St. Judes Children’s Research”

When Soh first decided to start dancing, his parents struggled with understanding why he wanted to.

“They thought it was loud, noisy, obnoxious and dangerous – the list goes on,” Soh said. “Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t totally against it, but they were reluctant.”

Soh said the fact that he lives in an Asian household plays into his parents’ disapproval of his dancing.

“They’re always worried about my academics,” Soh said. “They don’t want dancing to affect my performance in school.”

Soh said his parents have been more accepting of his dance lately because he got accepted into some colleges, but they still aren’t 100 percent supportive.

“I’m sure my parents would rather have me playing a violin, or a piano or something ridiculously traditional like Chinese fan dancing or air bending,” Soh said. “They’ve always been reluctant, but nevertheless, they have always let me go to practices – I can’t deny their support in that sense. Then again, whenever my grades are dropping, they know to always blame my dancing, whether it’s an accurate accusation or not.”

With college right around the corner, Soh has been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a career in dance.

“I would love to have a career dancing; teaching, competing, traveling,” Soh said. “I’m down for anything as long as I’m doing what I love. But one, it’s not a consistent source of income. Two, my parents probably wouldn’t approve. Regardless, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing now.”

Soh said that breakdancing is more than just a hobby to him, it’s a lifestyle.

“It changes the way you think, eat, move, exercise and spend your time,” Soh said. “But there are so many great things that come out of it.”

Soh said that one of his favorite things about dancing is how it connects people who don’t even speak the same language.

“The music is like a language that every dancer understands,” Soh said. “The dance bridges the gap between barriers like language, race, and religion. It’s crazy to think anyone can come from completely different backgrounds and upbringings and yet still rock the same beat, feel the same music, understand the same culture.”

Soh said he continues to dance because it’s a way to express himself, and he loves doing it.

“Dance is always true, as corny as that sounds – it can’t lie.” Soh said. “There’s no sugar coating, there’s no faking, and that’s the best part.”