Rivera dances through personal tragedy

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Two years ago, sophomore Edward Rivera found himself in a state of despondency. He was devastated after news of his father’s death and had little motivation to enjoy life. Until he discovered dancing. It started as a search on YouTube and turned into a full-time hobby. Through dancing, Rivera was able to express his emotions and release the oppressive feelings, without having to take it out on his family.

“I’ve always been interested in dance,” Rivera said. “My sister took dance classes that summer, and she showed me some stuff and I’d be interested in it, but I never got up from the couch, because I was just too depressed.”

Once he’d discovered the Les Twins, a self-taught dance duo, recognized for their talent in hip-hop choreography, Rivera felt inspired to learn how to dance himself. From there, he branched off and watched several other popular dance groups, such as the Kinjaz, another huge inspiration to him.

Everyday he would spend two hours after school, improving his skills and practicing new techniques. In order to manage his time, Rivera keeps a balance between school and dance.

“Balance is key,” Rivera said. “Balance is the key to anything, that’s what my dad used to tell me when I was young. You can’t really enjoy play time if you know you have work to do.”

However, for a long time, Rivera felt conflicted about balancing between work and play. He had a hard time deciding whether to follow his newfound passion in dancing or to fulfill his lifelong goal of becoming an astrophysicist.

“When I found dance,” Rivera said, “I fell in love with it a lot. It’s kind of hard to realize that I loved more than one thing.”

Although Rivera has found great relief in dancing, it is not likely that he will pursue it as a career.

“I didn’t want to stray away from that career path,” Rivera said, “because I know that artists in general don’t provide a substantial living. I don’t want to jeopardize my education.”

Now, Rivera has found a balance between his two passions. He plans to compromise by continuing to dance as a hobby.

“You can’t work nonstop, 24/7,” Rivera said. “You have to have some thought in order to facilitate your brain. You have to transition between peaks of activity, and during those times, I dance.”

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