New all-male team extends boys’ dance culture

October 30, 2017 — by Francesca Chu and Emilie Zhou
Photo by muthu Palaniappan

Tryouts were held last Friday for the new boys dance team.

The crowd cheered during the seniors’ Homecoming all-boys dance, impressed by their quick and synchronized moves. The dance featured not only some of today’s most popular dance trends, but also advanced and original choreography.

Homecoming Quad Day dances have allowed many boys to experiment with new styles. However, after Homecoming, there have been few opportunities for boys to showcase their dancing prowess other than the Bombay in the Bay event in February.

So when assistant principal Brian Thompson and dance team coach Kaitlyn Landeza approached senior Nicholas Di and his friends during a Homecoming practice, they immediately jumped at the idea of an all-male dance team.

“At this school, dance culture for guys is really only around during Homecoming, so we want to extend that throughout the school year,” Di said.

Thompson had originally come up with the idea last year at one of dance team’s regional competitions and got Landeza on board.

“We noticed that there were a lot of other schools that had all-male dance teams,” Thompson said. “They had their own dances and were mixing with the girls to do some combined dances, so it was really interesting to see that in the program for other schools.”

So around Homecoming week, Landeza, with the help of Di and his friends, began scouting and recruiting for the team.

Sophomore Prosper Chiu was one of the students Di approached to join. During Homecoming, Chiu enjoyed choreographing the sophomore stunt dance and it made him want to explore dancing.

“I’m really excited for the new possibilities that being on the team could bring,” Chiu said.

According to Di, dance is becoming a bigger part of the school’s culture, and he hopes the team will begin breaking barriers and giving guys the same opportunity as girls to expand their dance experience.

“Our goal is to provide a foundation for other guys out there who also have a passion for dance,” Di said.

For Landeza, it is exciting to be able to spread the love of dance beyond only the girls team.

“My ultimate goal for these guys is to have fun,” she said. “I would like them to not worry about placing at competitions and just enjoy this opportunity.”

Auditions will be held on Oct. 27, and the team will begin practicing soon after. They plan to compete in the all-male category at the same competitions as the current girls team.

However, Landeza anticipates that there might be a difference in attitude between the boys and girls, since most of the guys have not had years of traditional dance training the way the girls have.

“I could be wrong, but it’s different when people are self-trained rather than studio-trained,” she said. “Unlike the girls, most of them haven’t been learning about discipline and fundamental techniques from a young age.”

Because of this, the new team will also have to figure out how to work with the varying styles that each member brings. Di has always danced for fun, and it was not until the end of his junior year that he began getting “official” training and attending dance workshops. Eventually, he auditioned for the Syndicate Dance Company, a dance crew in San Jose, and joined their youth team, Syndikidz. But due to issues with his schedule, he had to quit when school started this year.

Chiu, on the other hand, has barely had any dance experience besides participating in the Homecoming dances. He hopes the team will help him learn more.

“Each of us has a different style and I can’t wait to see how we will complement each other as one team,” Di said.

 

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