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After the final bell, let the breakdancing begin

October 25, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

When the final bell rings at Southwest High School, the desks in Dennis Price's classroom get pushed out of the way, the fluorescent overhead lights are shut off and a strobe light begins flashing from the disco ball hanging from ceiling.

As other students head home or linger in groups on campus benches, the Southwest High Divine Style Crew breakdance club members get down to business perfecting their moves on the classroom's scuffed linoleum floor.

In existence for about a year now, the club provides a different kind of extracurricular activity previously not available.

Though breakdancing's heyday was nearly 20 years ago, there was enough curiosity about it on the Southwest campus to warrant an organized group.

"There was an interest for it," said Price, Southwest teacher, Crew adviser and occasional breakdancer.

"Breakdancing is an art form and a form of self-expression," Price said.

"I think it instills confidence in participating and performing students and this confidence will transcend into other areas of life," Price said.


The club has more than 30 male and female members ranging in ability from beginner to semi-professional, Price said. They perform at school and community functions and sometimes on campus at lunch time. The group has even had requests to perform at other local schools, Price said.

Members officially meet Thursdays, though kids can be found practicing every day after school in Price's classroom.

While the darkness, colored lights and thumping music give the room a party atmosphere, the dancers are actually working hard learning new moves and honing old routines.

"When I first saw it, I thought it looked cool but I couldn't see myself doing it," said senior Phillip Zamudio.

When he started breakdancing about one and a half years ago, Phillip, 17, found out exactly how hard it is.

The challenge, however, only made him more determined to stick with it.

Fellow club member Carlos Marin, 17, was also drawn by the challenge. "Breaking" for two years now, Carlos, a senior, calls it his hobby.

"It's what I do," Carlos said simply.

Like most breakdancers, Carlos and Phillip are basically self-taught, picking up moves through lots of practice and by imitating others.

"To be a good breaker, you have to develop your own style," Phillip said, adding that he uses elements of different dance styles ranging from hip-hop to salsa to country line dancing.

"You mix it all up and you make your own style," Phillip said.

"Practice makes better, dedication makes perfect," he added.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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