This post is a shout out to two good friends- Tine Salling and Jordan Brillantes. For the past year, we have connected through our love of dance- specifically House dance. They are literally the most beastly movers I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with and, fortunately, they’re just as good, if not better, people (which can be hard to come by sometimes). I needed to shout them out because both have left a profound impression on my life as a dancer and a member of the Hiphop community during my 2nd year here at Ohio State.
Before these two came into my life, I remember having such a competitive mindset when it came to dancing (I can’t lie, I still do sometimes). Up until this past year, I related myself to Hiphop dance within a studio or battle environment. I didn’t know much better. I knew the Hiphop community mostly through what I saw online. So, the people who I looked up to were in those same studio and battle settings. Therefore, my identity within the form came from practicing with an intention of competing. I had this fantasy that I would come out of the woodworks one day and kill everyone in the game; gaining the respect of the Hiphop community by rocking out and impressing during battles and jams…(there should be italics and bolding on the word fantasy). Admittedly, this put me on a pretty lonely road. I already struggled to find Hiphop dancers within academia who cared about the culture and the art as much as I did. On top of that, my inclination to be competitive with anyone who could dance well just put me in a place of isolation.
Ironically, my first talk with Tine was when she interrupted me while I was practicing in a studio at Ohio State. I’ll never forget some of her first words to me, “Where are the clubs at?! I need to dance!” I was stuck-on-stupid trying to respond to her question because, at that moment, I realized that I had never even thought of trying to go beyond the walls of the studio in search of a Hiphop community within the city. I just assumed there wasn’t one because nobody yelled in my face and held up a grand sign that said, they too, were a Hiphop dancer! Fortunately, Tine and I ended up going on a journey throughout the semester where we met and danced with some amazing people. Because of her, I have been able to connect with a multitude of dancers within Columbus, and have found myself being integrated into the Hiphop community here. There are no words that can describe the gratitude I have for her opening that opportunity to me. Now I know that there is not much greater than connecting with individuals of different beliefs, morals, worldviews, etc. on a spiritual level because of the art and culture we share together.
I actually introduced Jordan to one of the clubs that Tine and I discovered. So for his birthday, we went with a few friends to check it out. The entire night was live, but the moment I’ll remember forever is when I started dancing in our cypher and Jordan just got hype, yelling out, “Aaay aaay, show me sumtin, show me sumtin’!” The music was bumping, but the authenticity of his support was what put me on a high that I’ve never felt before. His simple action made me realize that my dance was a part of a spiritual exchange rather than a simple performance. I was expressing my fullest self, and it was being accepted and reciprocated by people I cared about- such a beautiful thing. I always say that I went to church that night because I truly felt a spiritual release like never before..in a club out of all places! I don’t know how I looked, but I will probably always say that night was the best I’ve ever danced.
I thank God for putting these two people in my life. They have changed me for the better. Although they have left, I know our paths will cross again. So as my second year ends, I raise a glass to my new Hiphop friends who I will cherish forever. It’s my honor to know that I carry you all’s spirit in talent on my daily journey. Much love. Blessings.