The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South students use dance to uplift, entertain, reinvent

By Tristan Evans/south news editor

Friday nights, when the majority of South Campus students are home relaxing after a long week, Jonny Le and his group spend a couple of hours in the Performing Arts Building trying to perfect their dance moves.

Le is president of Projekt Breaks & Jams, a club he started recently for people who enjoy b-boying. “Live to b-boy, b-boy to live” is the club’s motto. B-boying is something that most people associate or confuse with break dancing.

Le said there is a difference between the two forms of hip-hop dancing. B-boys use their dancing as a form of expression.

“This is about being who we are and enjoying ourselves,” Le said. “No disrespect to the [break dancers], though.”

In competitions, judges will sometimes base their decisions on the passion and heart they see a person putting in their dancing, he said.

Le describes b-boy battles as friendly competitions. B-boying grew out of the roots of hip-hop, he said, as a way to get people away from gang violence and fighting.

“It was an aggressive way to come at your opponent,” he said, “but in a peaceful manner.”

Le began dancing in middle school after seeing some of his fellow classmates dancing. He asked people about it and researched it online. When he first discovered it, it wasn’t in the media as much as it is now, Le said.

“Not everyone was on the Internet bandwagon,” he said. “A lot of [these] events were passed on by word of mouth.”

He said people had to be in the right place at the right time to catch a flier advertising the b-boy battles.

Le started out practicing by himself at home. It wasn’t until he reached high school that he began to meet others who also enjoyed b-boying as much as he did.

Andre Ford, who works in the South theater department and sponsors the club, met Jonny at North Crowley High School. They soon discovered that they were both dancers. Ford has been b-boying since he was 13.

“It’s a fun and active hobby,” Ford said.

Ford had to stop for a while after high school but said dancing was like riding a bike.

“You never forget it,” he said.

Le said he and Ford would be late to class or sometimes skip it all together so that they could dance.

One of his motivating factors for starting the club is the lack of b-boying scene in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Le, who lived in California for a while, said DFW is missing out on some of the diversity of other cities like Los Angeles, and Stockton, Calif.

His overall hope is that the club will help build up the b-boying scene and bring more culture to the area. He already has begun talking to event coordinators and sponsors and  would like to host his own b-boy dancing event some day.

Le wants to use the club as a sort of community outreach program and to make it available to as many as possible.

“Anyone who is interested or wants to learn or who just wants to hang out and be in the atmosphere we’re trying to provide is welcome,” Le said.

Le believes some people have negative associations with hip-hop, but he wants to show people the positivity in what he is trying to do.

“Everyone has different majors, and everyone has different backgrounds,” Le said of the club members. “But that doesn’t really matter. Hip-hop is about uplifting people from bad times and bad situations.”

A lot of people have lost that positive association with rap music because of gangster rap, Le said. He wants to bring back the positivity ’80s rap artists like Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five rapped about.

At the end of every month, the club holds a large exhibition battle with the winner taking a cash prize that Le pays out of his own pocket. He eventually plans to offer a variety of prizes from T-shirts to a trip to B-Boy City, a event that takes place in Austin every year.

B-Boy City is the biggest b-boy event in the southern part of the U.S. People fly in from all over the world to participate. Le said that he’s met people from Korea, Japan and Russia at the event.

Le cites B-Boy City as a big inspiration for him to form Projekt Breaks & Jams.

“The person who put it together, Romeo Navarro, he had the same idea,” Le said. “[He thought] there wasn’t any culture in Austin and someone [had] to do something.”

SE student Ron de la Garza who helps Le organize meetings and serves as a sort of promoter for the club has high hopes for it.

“I hope people that don’t usually dance join,” de la Garza said. “It’s a lot different than it used to be. There is a whole different side to hip-hop.”

Projekts Breaks & Jams practices 6-10 p.m. every Friday in SPAC.

The group can also be found on Facebook.

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