July 15, 2019 | 73° F

Rutgers groups host professional dancer for hip-hop workshop

Photo by Quzhi Li |

Wa Boogie, an Asian-American hip-hop dancer, spoke to students about improving their skill sets in the face of opposition. She was stereotyped as being unable to dance in the past.

Hip-hop is just about having fun. It is about energy and attitude, said Wa Boogie, a professional dancer and Rutgers alumnus at a workshop celebrating Women’s History Month.

“A night with Wa Boogie,” co-sponsored by the Cultural Center Collaborative, Rutgers Akdphi and Rutgers Naphi, was part of a series of events at Rutgers focused on women of color in the arts.

Boogie led a hip-hop and break-dance workshop hosted by the Asian American Cultural Center on March 28. She also shared her story as an Asian-American woman in her field.

She began the workshop with a group stretch, followed by a series of simple steps to teach a dance. Then, she performed for the crowd and participated in a question and answer session with students.

Boogie began dancing at age 11 when she became inspired by her brother's dance moves, specifically “the wave.” She has been dancing ever since with crews and now performs solo.

“I perform in different places. I do a lot of classes at Rutgers. That’s what I love most, inspiring young people,” she said.

Boogie hopes students gain a sense of freedom from her workshop. She encourages students to have fun, be themselves and pay no attention to what others think.

The workshop was enjoyable, said Tae Ho Lee, a School of Engineering first-year student. He also learned some new moves and met different people. 

Lee said he is grateful that the event was hosted at Rutgers.

“It inspired me to dance. I’m going to go to a party and apply what I learned to have fun,” he said.

That is what hip-hop is all about, Boogie said. It's about having fun and being positive with one another.

“I love the freedom of hip-hop,” she said. “It is more of a feeling for me. There are multiple emotions to it. It makes me happy and when I am sad, I can let it out.”

Being Asian-American has not been a struggle for Boogie, but it has surprised people in her male-dominated field, she said.

Now the field is more diverse, but growing up people, would tell Boogie she could not dance because she is an Asian-American woman. After watching her dance, it would be a different story.

Being herself and disregarding the opinion of others provided Boogie with the confidence to succeed, Boogie said.

“I didn’t care what people thought of me. I love dance, I love hip-hop, I know I’m pretty nice at it,” she said. “Why would I discourage myself and say it is only for males.”

If there is something people love in life, they should give it their all. She told students to not quit, as everyone has to begin somewhere.

“If you aspire to do hip-hop dance, keep going to classes, get trained and surround yourself with like-minded people,” she said. “Keep practicing because it takes time to be good.”

Boogie spent most of her time at Rutgers focused on dance and academics. Her only regret would be not branching out more.

“I hope you take advantage of the opportunities at Rutgers,” she said. “To meet such a diverse population is really critical for the real world. Spread your wings, meet other people outside of your culture, it is going to benefit you.”

Noa Halff is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @NoaHalff for more.

Noa Halff

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