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Trump ban puts a damper on local hip hop studio’s New York tour

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Boogaloo Academy dancers in a b-boy class. Photo: Sasha Zeidler.

Reported by Sasha Zeidler  

A South Vancouver dance studio’s cultural tour of New York City for hip hop enthusiasts has been postponed due to the new immigration order in the United States.

Boogaloo Academy provides classes varying from ballet to hip hop. Anita Perel-Panar and Jheric Hizon, who co-founded the studio in 2012, said they planned the tour to show dancers and their families how hip hop culture began, but U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest decision made them reconsider.

“The people that are coming to our tour, they all come from different backgrounds,” said Hizon. “Now with the travel ban, we can’t really ask them ‘what nationality are you?’”

Tour included a meeting with hip hop legend DJ Kool Herc

Like the academy’s vision for their students, the tour, which is being rescheduled for August, aims to connect people who share a passion for dance. Activities on the 10-day tour include Broadway shows, sightseeing and an afternoon with the man credited for founding hip hop, DJ Kool Herc.

The tour postponement also had other effects that cascaded across  the studio.

Boogaloo Academy’s foundation, A Star Society, which provides free classes throughout Vancouver, would have held their ninth annual High School High competition, but the event was cancelled due to conflict with the initial tour dates.

Dancer Eloise Stockton-Thomas in class. Boogaloo Academy teaches both classical dance forms like ballet alongside hip hop. Photo: Sasha Zeidler.

 Studio looking ahead to spreading positivity and building community

In spite of the negativity that lead to the tour being rescheduled, students and faculty at Boogaloo Academy are still working to bring people together through the art of dance.

“We’re not trying to put anyone down or be better than anyone,” said teacher and dancer for the academy’s crew, The Collective, Rowena ‘RoRo’ Cacapit.

“It’s more like I’ll teach you, you teach me.”

“You feel welcome and nobody puts anyone down or makes you feel little,” said student Alexia Kong. “It’s a studio where you can be yourself. I love the whole idea that I can be me without judgment.”

As they work on rescheduling the tour, Perel-Panar and Hizon keep their focus on their students.

“[Dancers are] ambassadors to connect the world,” said Hizon.

 

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