Breakdancers toe their marks at Lincoln High
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Story and photos by Chelsea Coli, News Net Nebraska
Lincoln High School has a new dance force. Ground Zero, an all-male break dance group, is putting a sharp spin on the customary high school dance team. The group went active last fall with the help of Lincoln High School teacher and group sponsor, Donna Anderson.
“I have been involved in dance my entire life and when I became a teacher at Lincoln High I saw that talent being unused,” says Anderson.
The 11-member troupe appears at school events and district-wide performances. Just before Thanksgiving, it showcased its talents at “Star Strutters,” where the dancers took the stage with high school dance and cheerleading teams from across Lincoln. Ground Zero has also performed at Lighthouse, an after-school program in the city, and getting out into the community is one of the troupe’s goals.
“I do see Ground Zero making an impact in the community soon,” says Anderson. While she says the group is still in the “establishment phase,” she says, “it is one of my goals, as well as the members, to have Ground Zero become a positive force in the community.”
Ground Zero performs at Lincoln High School
Sophomore Brodrick Kudron says that getting other students involved, even at a younger level, is important to the group. This isn’t only to share a love of dancing, but also lays a foundation for a stronger group in the future.
“Our plan to keep Ground Zero going stronger is to recruit new people or perform in places other than high schools,” says Kudron. “Like kids in elementary schools, so when they get to high school they can join.”
Ground Zero includes students from all four years at the high school. Each member of the racially mixed group brings something different to the dance floor. Some flip, some moonwalk, others spin. They find common ground in dance.
Although recruiting superlative dancers in the future is one of their goals, for now that doesn’t include females. This is partly due to unclear school regulations and to what co-founder Timothy Curtis-Beard calls the group’s “bromance.”
“Nothing bad against the girls, it’s just you know, for once actually have a group with guys that we can show to the school without anything bad,” says Curtis-Beard. “We just wanted to show that guys like us can stick together in something we can do as one.”
The group connects on and off the dance floor, sharing friendship ties as well as a passion for the dancing they do.
All the members love to perform. “It may sound corny but it feels like I’m floating,” says Kudron. “Cuz when I do it, well, I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just fun. It feels good to be out there in front of people showing what you can do.”
Although the members admit to getting mildly nervous before a performance, Anderson confesses she probably gets more nervous than any of them.
“It’s such a mix of feelings when they get out there. I get to see them put so much effort and hard work into a routine and all I want for them is to nail it,” says Anderson. “There is so much pride and excitement involved in it; it’s like I can barely stand up when I watch them!”
Ground Zero sponsor, Donna Anderson.
Freshman member Demetre Gibson says the thing he gets most worried about, is a lack of enthusiasm from the audience. Silence would be deadly.
“The one thing I don’t want to hear after we’re done is crickets,” says Gibson. “But that hasn’t happened yet – I hope it doesn’t happen.”
Ground Zero practices every school day and sometimes gets together on the weekends, even if only to mess around. Practice can stretch up to three or four hours at a time.
“The closer we get to a performance, the longer it will be,” says Kudron. “Like three weeks until a performance we maybe will practice an hour and a half, and the closer we get to a performance the longer the practices go so we can get it down better so we can fine-tune it instead of learning the moves.”
The dancers take pride in their work and love the appreciation of their peers, and so does Anderson. She’s happy to serve as their sponsor and be part of what she calls their community.
“Ground Zero allows me to see a part of Lincoln High that so many other people don’t get to see,” says Anderson. “The feeling of community, working toward a common goal, the endurance and the determination to become better are all qualities that every single member in Ground Zero has. Often times I find that Ground Zero motivates me!”
Although four members are graduating in the spring, the group has no fear about its future.
“We are definitely losing some strong characters at the end of the year,” says Anderson. “Some of the seniors built the foundation, and they will definitely be missed. But, I have to say that I am watching our younger members developing into leaders. I only see Ground Zero getting stronger from here.”
Ground Zero members
Back row from left to right: Broderick Kudron, sophomore, L.J. Ewings, sophomore, Timothy Curtis-Beard, senior, Minh Ninh, senior, Hiep Nguyen, senior
Front row from left to right: Kenneth Johnson, freshman, Demetre Gibson, freshman, Thommy Tran, freshman, Mohamed Musa, senior
Missing members: Josh Curtis-Beard and Charlie Curtis-Beard