Break dancing is full of diversity that thrives across various cultures. UT's Break Dance Club is trying to make sure this culture is prevalent on campus.
Break dancing is unlike any other art form and can sometimes create negative attitudes that seem to take away from the art form, according to club president Jianyin Roachell.
The club struggled to become recognized as an actual organization until two years ago.
"An issue is that a lot of traditional advisors don't see it as a form of art," Roachell said. "They associate it with gangs and things like that so that was an issue back then. But it's more than that. It's an art form and a form of expression."
Patrick Jones, a three-year member, said the club has not been granted access to a designated practice spot, so practices are held in public outside of McClung Tower or inside the Arts and Architecture Building. This can sometimes take away from the group's progress in learning.
"When people are trying to learn, they're often out of their comfort zone and often times the places (we practice) are very public," said Jones, a graduate student in biomedical. "The privacy of being somewhere and learning something new allows them to learn better and not get distracted.
"We have to practice where we can."
Jones said when the club was recognized officially, an increase in the club's performance opportunities followed. Last year, the club won second place in the International Dance Competition hosted by the I-House and hopes to take home the first place title this November.
Azsha Treanor, freshman in public relations and marketing, has seen the club perform and visits practice on occasion.
"It's very impressive to watch," Treanor said. "They're not just doing ballet. They're doing everything, so the amount of control they have to have to be able to move everything is incredible."
Break dancing is an athletic activity, but strength is only part of what it takes to be a break dancer, Roachell said.
"An athlete can break dance, but you have to be an artist and an athlete to be a break dancer and real B-boy," Roachell said. "You have to be creative and think on the spot and have discipline while dancing."
Roachell said this creativity is shown in many different countries around the world through break dancing. He has visited countries including China, Scotland and England and found B-boys in most places.
"The only difference is that we speak a different language," Roachell said. "The bonding experience is amazing, because it's so universal. We share this common interest of break dancing and respect each other at the same time.
"It's like the universal language of dance."
The art form of break dancing is seen throughout many cultures and also holds different cultures inside the dance, including kung fu, gymnastics, capoeira and more, according to Roachell. He said the most universal aspect of it is determination.
"It takes a lot of discipline," Roachell said. "It just depends on how bad you want it and how bad you want to improve yourself in this art form.
"For some, it's a passion. For some, it's an exercise. But for me, it's a way to better yourself. It teaches determination."
Jones, who began with the club in high school, said this determination comes through every time he dances.
"I'm probably the slowest learner on the team, but it's really about dedication and hard work," Jones said. "It's very free. You get to express yourself. I hope more people try it out.
"Once they understand it, they will love it just like I do."
Practices are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. outside McClung Tower and Wednesdays in the Arts and Architecture Building. Anyone is welcome to attend.