The Sun Devil Breakdancing Club is an inclusive, laid-back environment for dancers of all levels to come in and expand their knowledge of breakdance culture.
Created by senior psychology major Julian Szablowski, who decided to start the club when he noticed people looking in on him and others practicing their moves in the Sun Devil Fitness Complex.
“I kept noticing people at the gym watching us practice through the windows of the dance rooms, but they would never come inside and join," Szablowski said. "It’s like they were too scared. There were so many window watchers that we decided to make the club to provide an open space for people to come."
The club has since grown to 40 to 60 members who attend every week. Though the club is home to many experienced dancers, it welcomes all levels as a way for those passionate about hip-hop to train and improve their skills.
Through connections Szablowski has made within the dance community, the club has also become the homebase for Tempe breakdancers, and dancers from all over the globe pay a visit to the club's sessions when in Arizona.
“We’ve had people from Japan, China, Alaska, Mexico, South America and Europe. Whenever they come to Arizona, they come to [our] club,” Szablowski said. “We have some of the best b-boys in the world come out and practice with us."
Szablowski said the environment of the club is relaxed and a great stress reliever for dancers to unwind after a day of classes.
“It’s really informal,” he said. “There’s no sign-ups, no fees, no obligations. It’s just a community of people.”
While Szablowski is graduating soon, he has goals of expanding the club and plans to pass leadership along to computer science sophomore Boice Wong.
“We want to reach out by volunteering for schools to provide an education on breakdancing,” Wong said. “There's a stigma of breakdancers being scary, or hip-hop being sort of grungy, when in reality it’s much more artistic than that.”
The club plans on visiting elementary schools next year to expose the younger generation to the positivity of breakdancing culture and dispel the negative notions that are often tied to hip-hop.
“We’re not gangsters," Szablowski said. "We’re not uneducated. We’re college [students] pursuing more than just a graduate degree.”
The breakdancing club has become a staple at Third Thursday, an event run by the Programming and Activities Board and Undergraduate Student Government to showcase ASU student art and performance on the third Thursday of every month.
Lauren Lee, a sophomore sustainable tourism major and the director of Third Thursday, said she loves the energy the club brings to the event.
"They are a focal point of the event in terms of drawing a crowd,” Lee said. "Any student who has the chance to see them perform would be lucky to do so.”