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I’ve been dancing for about as long as I’ve been walking. For me dance isn’t only a sport, it’s a way to escape the struggles in my community.
I’m from West Oakland, where it’s hard to ignore the routine violence. Over the course of last year, three middle school classmates were shot near my house. It’s hard to avoid the traps of gang violence, teen pregnancy, and peer pressure.
Dancing has kept me away from all that. On top of school and work, I spend about 12 hours a week in dance class, rehearsals, and performances.
My goal is to become a band dancer at a Historically Black College, performing in front of thousands at football games. When I’m on the field, it’s like I’m in a different world.
I attend Oakland Unified School District, where the dropout rate is over 23 percent. But I’m not a statistic. I’m on track for college and I’m convinced great things are ahead of me as long as I keep dancing.