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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Young dancers show bravery despite tragedy

I've been contemplating whether or not to write some recaps of illskillz Toronto's Best Highschool Dance Crew Finals that I judged this past weekend, but today something compelled me to write about one group in particular that goes well beyond the competition format.  For some reason, to keep these thoughts to myself doesn't seem justified.

A dance group by the name of Eksentrik suffered a tragic loss of one of their members a few weeks before the competition.  Although I don't know the exact details of the incident, a fellow judge let me in on the news as they began their piece in an obvious somber position.  The crowd erupted as a single member broke out into some krumping moves with serious power and precision.  As the piece continued to rise, the audience began to feel something special in the air.  The crew member's hat was placed on the stage in memory of him right after a stage light blew out and those seated in the front inhaled a dominant burning smell.  Was this really happening? We all looked around at each other in both confusion and wonder.  This didn't stop Eksentrik as they continued to dance through their pain, infecting us all.  At the end of the piece, the boys huddled together - shaking -breaking down into tears.  My eyes welted up.

It was a moment that will be burned in my memory forever.

As creditable and heart-felt judges, we each took a moment to acknowledge the incredible bravery and courage these boys (in my eyes they turned into men) took in the face of tragedy.  They bonded together and danced for each other, for us, and most importantly for their friend Leasean who was taken away.  Although many of us didn't know him personally, we knew him then as his spirit moved in unison with his crew members; his strength and purpose exposed.

(I can't even imagine losing any of the members of Catalyst and what that would be like.  The thought of it makes me shiver.)

These boys are a true testament to the power of dance and how it can touch everyone whether your a dancer or not.  Their ability, at such a young age, to carry forth their movement and to understand the depth of importance this has not just on their crew, but on the rest of the world, quite literally blows my mind.  They are true heros in my eyes.

I salute Eksentrik and wish them only success and happiness on to their journey to the top.  Thank you for sharing your gifts with us despite your loss.  You could have easily pulled out of the competition all together but instead you chose to stay and in doing so, impacted a whole new generation of dancers. Keep your head up and be forever grateful for your powers because your destined to soar. 

To your crew member Leason, may he rest in peace and be an angel as you continue on the Eksentrik journey.. 

A few months before the competition with all 5 members.  At the FINALS, there were only 4 ... 





2 comments:

CAT said...

Thank you for this Janet. Simply amazing :)

-Carlos

Alex said...

Great piece! Thanks for sharing!

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