B-boying club helps students 'break' into style of dance
RU Breaks is bringing workshops to University students to teach the synthesis of break dancing and creativity.
“The beauty of expression in dancing is something you really can’t describe," said Daniel Paik, a School of Engineering sophomore and the club's leader. “When you hear the music, when you see all the guys over there, there is something that just compels you to join.”
RU Breaks is the official B-boying, or breakdancing, organization at the University, and in addition to having weekly meetings, hosting competitions and performing for other student organizations’ events, they have an instructional workshop series open to B-boyers at any level of experience.
The first 15 minutes are dedicated to stretching, and the following hour is for instruction on concepts.
Friday’s workshop was focused on “threading,” a sort of illusion created when one part of a dancer's body appears to move through another part of their body.
“(Threading) is a way to make certain moves look a little more flashy, like people can do handstands and thread or grab one leg and thread with it,” said Jeremy Gonzalo, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
Gonzalo is the club vice president and was an instructor at Friday’s threading session.
One of the goals of the workshop series is to help teach people who are interested in breakdancing the basics so they can build a platform to get creative with their own moves, like Gonzalo and Paik did when they were first learning.
“It’s really hard to develop your own style … In the end, it’s all about how unique and creative you are yourself,” Paik said. “By us teaching people we can spread our style and it makes it easier for new people to join into the community.”
The workshop series is another component to the club’s always-active meetings that are meant to be inclusive and help expand the B-boying community in New Brunswick.
The workshop's attendance at the Rutgers Student Center Lion Lounge on the College Avenue campus was strong, a dance studio full of beginners, experts and alumni.
“We can reach out to more people who want to learn (with a workshop), instead of (leaving them) sitting around in awe, not doing anything when they’re at meetings,” Gonzalo said. “Somebody comes in with speakers and music, and we just start practicing.”
The environment is especially welcoming to newcomers and people who are shy about their dancing skills. Many alumni and people not affiliated with Rutgers specifically come to meetings to stay connected to the positive environment RU Breaks has fostered.
“We all help each other,” said Wingki Chan, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and a member of club. “I’m here to maybe give some advice whenever (anyone may) need it.”
Chan joined the club after a workshop he attended, and was thankful for the focus it gave him to be a better and more proficient dancer.
Hannah Bhum, an event attendee who is not affiliated with Rutgers, also continues to come to meetings and workshops because they gave her the confidence to dance in front of other people.
This was the third workshop for Cheyenne Hidalgo, a Mason Gross School of the Arts senior, who feels the workshops cater to her level of dancing.
“They’re all very encouraging,” Hidalgo said. “They’re all like pros at what they do, and they don’t make you feel bad at all … It’s a very positive environment.”
As a graphic design major, Hidalogo did not have experience with dancing, but she did have an interest in learning, which is why she came to RU Breaks.
“I’ve watched YouTube videos to try to breakdance before and it’s definitely a lot different than having somebody to help you step-by-step and actually see what you’re doing wrong,” she said.
RU Breaks has had positive feedback and its members are eager to learn more in the workshops, which are also great preparation for Ruthless, the club’s biggest event, a “Jam” open to spectators and competitors in April.
“There are so many aspects to this dance, the physical aspect, the fitness aspect, the creative side — there’s so much to work on, so much to explore that, you just never get tired of learning new things,” Chan said.
Brittany Gibson is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in art history and journalism and media studies. She is the associate copy editor at The Daily Targum.