Life Lessons Taught by My Dance Family

Author: Aaron Collier

As a dancer, photographer and architecture major here at ND, I am rather invested in the artistic community here and unfortunately don’t think the area receives enough attention. Notre Dame is most famous for our success on the many courts and fields that inhabit our campus, but we also have a multitude of studios. These studios are centers of creative thought for dance, music and art. Using these facilities all of the time, I couldn’t be happier with the experiences that I have amassed. I am a part of Project Fresh (PFresh), a hip-hop/breakdancing crew that performs in shows all year round on campus. This group has truly become my family here at Notre Dame; I spend more time with them than I even do with my dormmates. The reason is that everyone in PFresh is beyond supportive and willing to lend a hand to those who desire to grow in their dance skills. I picked up breaking just before coming to ND, and it was just my luck that there were two b-boys in particular within PFresh that were willing to teach me more. After just a semester, these two taught me the culture and vernacular of the dance. Like every new b-boy wannabe, I came in wanting to do all the cool flips and spins that I’d seen in movies; but my newfound friends and mentors taught me otherwise. They warned me about how such techniques take years to master, and how that’s extremely difficult to do while being in school. All the while these two were doing magnificent spins, one-armed handstands and a bunch of other things that don’t even look real. Nevertheless, I decided to stick with it.


After an incredible amount of crashing and burning, I now feel that I can call myself a real b-boy. I feel completely immersed in the culture and have improved in many areas in my life. I personally use the group as an outlet through which I am able to connect my entire experience here at Notre Dame. As I continually practice, I see myself grow in all aspects of life. I find comfort in the dance studio, so it is natural for me to use dance as the medium through which I measure my growth. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that b-boying isn’t all about doing those crazy flips and awesome head spins that others may do. It is about finding your own niche, finding out what works best for you, and learning your personal style of b-boying. All of these pertain to life as well. If my experience with PFresh has taught me anything, it’s that life has to be taken one step at a time and that you should aspire to be a greater person than you were yesterday.