Passion for dance takes student to new heights

By Collin Ho Kumamoto

Calvin Dang serves as a prime example of someone who successfully balanced his school life at ELAC with his passion for dancing.  Dang’s interest for dance began when he was in the eighth grade when he began breakdancing with his friends.  At the time, it was common for a lot of children to be into street styles such as popping, locking, and break dancing.

Dang enjoyed dancing but decided to join the Mark Keppel High School Tennis Team.  Tennis was an effective way to keep Dang fit and involved on campus.  He continued to play tennis until the end of his sophomore year.

Dang wanted to be challenged and felt like he had run into a plateau with Tennis. “there was too much repetition and I wanted to go back to my passion for dancing,” Dang said. As a result, Dang set his eyes on joining the Mark Keppel All Male Dance Team and successfully made the team in the beginning of his Junior year.  

The All Male Dance Team was not recognized on campus as a legitimate organization and they only performed for small school performances.  During his Junior year, Dang saw the potential of the team and wanted a new advisor who could take the team to new heights.  Calvin became captain of the team during his senior year.  He then talked with the school administration and helped to hire the current Mark Keppel Dance Company Coach Activate Arroyo.  

Dang and Arroyo’s collaborative efforts allowed the team to compete in many regional competitions against other all male high school dance teams.  Calvin and his team won several first place titles at these regional competitions despite being the newest competing team.  

After Dang’s accomplishments with dance in high school, he enrolled himself at ELAC in hopes of majoring in Accounting.  During his first year at ELAC, Dang continued his dance career by joining a collegiate team called IV League and was a part of the Robert Project, R.O.B, based out of Fullerton.  The first year of college was stressful for Dang but he managed to keep a 4.0 GPA and eventually transferred to USC the spring of his sophomore year.  

Once Dang had transferred, he danced for Chaotic 3, a USC dance team. He directed them for one year.  Dang is currently dancing for The Good Project based out of Irvine and is finishing his final year at USC as a Business Administration major.  

Dance has heavily impacted Dang’s life and has taught him many valuable lessons.  He has learned to manage time effectively and develop many lifelong friendships.  The most valuable lesson he has learned from his dance experience is, “I only do what I enjoy.”

Along with Dang’s personal achievements in school and dance, he also led the way for a new generation of dancers at Mark Keppel High School.  The Mark Keppel All Male Dance Team is currently the defending champions of the Miss Dance Drill Team USA National Competition, which is hosted annually and invites international high schools to compete against national teams.  

This as Calvin explains was the “Olympics of the dance/drill community”.  This would not be possible if Dang had not invested his effort in finding the team an official advisor.  Dang is happy to have had the opportunity to dance, inspire others, and take advantage of all the great educational opportunities at ELAC to be where he is today.

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