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The Sky is the Limit

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

This year the Bboy Factory has continued to grow. New students have filled up our teams and many of our kids are thriving in the scene. But along with that growth we have had to learn some hard lessons. One of our greatest challenges this year has been to let go of some of our students who have grown up in our programs. Like a mother fearing an "empty nest" after her children leave home, we too feel a part of us will be missing. Letting go can be a difficult thing to do, but doing so gracefully is so important.

When our students Ryan and Imran came to the studio in early 2013 they were just 12 years old. One was a bit goofy and the other was completely erratic, which I still like to remind them of. At first, they would come for one class a week. Quickly that became two. Soon after that they became our first team members and were spending 6 hours a week at the studio. By the time they turned 16 and began driving they were coming those hours and open practices to the point they were in the studio anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a week. Spending that much time with someone for 6 years you really get to know them.

Being a mentor becomes so much more than just being a teacher. I watched these kids grow into young men and know beyond any doubt I played a huge role in who they are as people today. That makes them feel something akin to family. This past year they have been teaching some of our little kids programs, passing down the knowledge they learned in this very same space. They are my direct lineage and I couldn't possibly be more proud of who they have become.

Ryan is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. He trains constantly and with a determination that is truly rare. His dedication to the craft is a teachers dream come true. He was always eager to learn and easy to teach. If he didn't pick something up in class he would go home and practice and come back the following week with it perfected. As a young man today he is genuine, generous and engaging. He is wonderful with the younger kids at the studio and growing into an important member of our staff of instructors. On top of his character, he is truly a masterful young dancer. His technical ability and understanding of the foundation is nearly flawless and in my (obviously biased) opinion he has the best footwork in our local scene. Although he has grown out of our class programs I honestly hope he carries on these very same programs for many years to come.

Imran, aka Bboy Run, has an energy that can not be taught. He has always been a naturally gifted dancer with an uncanny feeling and effortless flow. He is creative, explosive and loves to perform. I always think of the way he welcomes people with his dance. Even when battling he is always smiling and possesses and contagious positivity. Don't let that fool you. He has become one of the top young bboys in the World, quite literally. In 2018 he placed in the top 16 teens at the World Youth Championship in Tokyo, Japan qualifying to represent USA at the Youth Olympics. He also won the Competitive Breakin' League National Championship in the teen division in Washington DC. He has learned to control his hyper energy and has become a truly a dangerous opponent for any Bboy in the world. To have him carry our legacy as a direct product of the Bboy Factory makes me swell with pride.

In 2018 they both officially became members of our crew, Ironlungs. Wherever they go they will carry that name and represent Colorado and the Bboy Factory. As I mentioned before, letting go is not easy. Run is moving to Seattle to go to college. With him I feel goes a part of me. But, he will be in a larger scene surrounded by a higher caliber and that is exactly what he needs to continue to grow as a bboy. I am confident he will travel the country and the world with this dance. In fact, I think we will likely see him on the world stage in coming years, whether it be Red Bull BC One or maybe even the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The sky is truly the limit. But to reach the sky you must open your wings. That is why I'm happy to see him leave Colorado and the small pond mentality of our local scene. Some day soon I'm sure Ryan will do the same and I will be equally happy and sad to see him go.

They say the relationship between a teacher and student forces the teacher to grow as much as the student. I never knew how true that was before these two came into my life. Thinking back to who I was in 2013 reminds me that I too have come such a long way in these past 6 years. My heart swells with gratitude that these two chose me to teach them this dance and even more importantly to mentor them as young men. Very few relationships in my life have been as profound and as fulfilling. Letting go is hard. Saying goodbye is painful. But watching my students flourish and take on the world is one of the greatest joys I have ever known.

Thank you Ryan. Thank you Imran. You are both a part of me. You make me proud. You are the Bboy Factory.

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