Not Your Average Dancer is a blog series written by our General Manager, Amy Zhang, that features some of our friends of the Groove. The series profiles incredible Industry dancers who have broken the stereotype image of being a ‘dancer’ and carved a career for themselves. If you take our beginner classes, here are some goals to aspire to.
Meet Clarence Kent. You guys already know this dude as the curator of all the Groove Lab playlists that we know you’ve been bumping in your cars, but there’s another reason why we love this dude so much.
For such a talented dude, Clarence’s come up was humble. Whilst we sit here in awe every time Clarence moves, what gives us all hope that we too can be this incredible, is how honest he is about how dance never came naturally to him. “Fuck no. I definitely had to work for it. Whenever I went and danced, there was Ben (GT Therapist), Jack and Alex Morris next to me doing all the crazy shit. I knew I wasn’t nearly as good as my peers.” Clarence laughs, then adds “I was also pretty big. I was pretty chubby.” However, not being naturally talented or ‘fit’ for breaking never seemed to phase him. “In my eyes it’s a good thing because I learnt how to discipline myself when I’m training,” Clarence reflects.
Clarence began entering battles in Brisbane and quickly out grew the Brisbane scene. Wanting a greater challenge, he then began travelling interstate where he struggled to gain the appreciation of his peers. “I was different to all of them. They would all smoke me but I always knew I had a different mentality.” Despite constantly being knocked back, Clarence saw a greater sense of investment that came from travelling and started flying himself overseas to battle. Even then,“whenever I would jam people would be nice and kind enough to give me props but I knew myself I wasn’t on par with the battle scene over there.” Fast forward to present day Clarence and things have definitely changed for this dude. Since returning from LA, Clarence has now danced for the Jabbawockeez winning against the best in the industry and gaining muchos respect for it in the dance world. When I asked Clarence about what changed his response was simple, “Nothing’s changed. I’m just practising. I’m just getting better.”
It’s not all about self-improvement with this dude. Clarence is constantly pushing to build his community alongside his crew, Golden Coastline. Together they’re fostering within this baby freestyle community a sense of staying true to the ‘hip-hop’ culture, yet still being unapologetically Australian instead of falling into the trendy trap of cultural appropriation. Moving forward, Clarence feels pretty confident in the growth of this community, “It’s pretty obvious it is growing and still is. There’s definitely so many more freestylers which is sick. I remember battles and there would only be eight of us. Now, when they put ‘Test Your Might’ on they had over 100 people for all styles which is crazy!” Clarence says proudly. So when asked about what advice he gives to his growing community his only gripe was the lack of connection. “Honestly I reckon, that’s the culture of hip hop you know. We all meet up and dance and say we’re into hip hop culture but none of us smoke up or drink together and get down when we’re drunk or fucken faded. Honestly that’s my answer”.
We love the honesty, Clarence.
If you’re loving this dude’s style, follow his dance journey here on instagram: @clarencekunta
Main image photographed by Sean Carbs
If you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Byron come put Clarence’s advice into practise and come party at one of our classes this week. Can’t make any of our classes? We do online classes too!