Break dancers find their groove on the Mall

Marco Moreno (21) from the street dance group poses for a photograph on the Mall in Woodland Hills, Calif. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Moreno is coming to Pierce College from Brazil. Photo: Kristen Aslanian

When walking down the Pierce College mall, students have noticed music bumping and a circle of students dancing along with the tunes.


Every afternoon, a group of students with a passion for all things dance meet in front of the Pierce Library to perform and practice their break dancing moves.


With a tattoo of a boom box on his neck, Johnny David Ceja, 19, a civil engineering major, has been dancing since middle school.


“I got this tattoo so I can have music bumping in my ear all the time,” Ceja said.


Since Ceja always was interested in dance, he never thought that walking by one day he would see a group of students dancing just as passionately as he has done since he was a child. He immediately said that he found his group of friends on campus and has met with them to practice ever since.


Pierce College student, Marco Antonio Moreno, 21, just started attending Pierce and has been dancing for 10 years. When Moreno heard about the college’s dance clubs and classes, he was interested right away and decided to attend Pierce. He was also surprised to see other students that could break dance and was welcomed right away.


“Coming into Pierce, I was interested in finding other dancers and I did,” Moreno said.


Growing up, Moreno was always interested in the art of b boy street dancing, which is commonly known as break dancing, and became passionate for this specific form of expression. Moreno and other dancers have also noticed a few of the students stopping by to observe and admire their skill.


“It makes me feel good when they clap because it helps me stay focused and get better,” Moreno said.


Moreno also said that apart from the fun he has practicing on campus, it helps him with school. Right after practice, he can read his textbooks and do his homework with other dancers who help each other with their dance moves and even with class assignments.


Another student that participates in the daily dance group is Marquis Francisco, 20, who is majoring in accounting and has studied at Pierce for two years. He has always admired break dancing and has practiced for years to achieve his goal of becoming a talented dancer.


“There was a time were I thought break dancing wasn’t for me but I just kept practicing and practicing,” said Francisco.


Francisco uses dance as a form of stress relief, exercise, and to join a community of students who are willing to help other and welcome anybody who wants to join.


“This community of dancers is really great because it gave me a place where I can fit in,” said Francisco.


The group meets on the afternoons causally and cannot be missed when walking across the mall in front of the library.


“Anybody is welcome,” Ceja said. “Whoever is a dancer or wants to learn or practice is welcomed here.”


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