Dancing is life


Bruce Wilkerson is a PYO intern working for the Durham VOICE and a high school student at Voyager Academy of Durham (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)

Bruce Wilkerson is a PYO intern working for the Durham VOICE and a high school student at Voyager Academy of Durham (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)

Pretty much everybody has heard of Beyonce, but do you know about the only male dancers that are associated with her, Les Twins?

As a young African-American dancer. I look up to these two people for many reasons, but primarily because of how they grew up dancing.

Their family is a dancing musical family like mine, but I started off dancing a little different than them.

My dad, too, was a big dancer back in the day. His specialties were hip-hop, break dancing, step and crump —while mine today are hip-hop, jazz and ballet.

Dance has always been a part of my life.

I have always used dance as a way to get through things that stress me. It’s like a best friend because it has been there for everything in my life good or bad. If my mom stresses me out, I’ll go downstairs and dance. If I had a hectic day at school, I’ll go home, put on music and freestyle whatever comes to me comes to me.

There have been other activities that I have participated in and was good at, but dance is the only thing that makes me happy. There have been times when I tried to not dance anymore because it was getting in the way of schoolwork or extracurricular activities like football and baseball. I tried both sports when I was young — and even though I loved them, I always made my way back to dance.

This love has gotten me in trouble at times, like when I’m in class and hear a song in my head. I’ll start dancing to music that’s not even there.

I spend a lot of time at dance competitions and get in as many public shows as I possibly can. I’m not afraid to take a risk and this becomes handy when persistence and competitiveness is required. I have to stay in shape to dance competitively and sometimes I might dance for hours and just be beginning to warm up.

If that means I begin random dancing at the mall then I will.

If it means getting on a dance team of some type, I will do that, too.

For people wanting to get involved, there are many ways to get on a dance team. Sometimes you can just hang around dancing and the right people will find you. Other times, if you run across a dance troupe you can ask to join. Then there is the always-easy way — look online and contact a dance group.

A word of caution: you might have to watch out for what groups you consider. If you are a part of a dance group that does not align with your morals, discontinue your practices with them.

Another point: you should make any dance that you are doing your own. You can learn from other people’s styles, but you have to find a way to make your own. In many competitions, judges grade on originality.

For me, money and material things do not equate to happiness. But dance — it is life.


Bruce Wilkerson is a high school student at Voyager Academy of Durham. He is serving as a writer-photographer interning with the Durham VOICE, supported by Partners for Youth Opportunity.