QHS senior follows his own footsteps as dancer
For Quincy High School senior Lucas Zepeda, the equation is simple: Sweat equals sweat.
Zepeda, the lone male in the Quincy High School Dance Team, the Jills, says nothing else matters. Not the critics that say he and his cohorts are not athletes, nor much less those who criticize his choice of activity as being less than masculine.
A member of the dance team for about a year and a half, Zepeda starts working with the Jills around August, and the season does not end until March.
“We sweat, too, we practice hard, too,” he said. “We try to win trophies. It’s like any other sport, even if I would not call it a sport. We are athletes, we do train and work hard.”
His love for dancing predates his time with the Jills, but he did not try out anywhere before he gave his high school’s team a shot.
Not a product of a dance academy, Zepeda says he enjoys the mixture of creativity and hard work that goes into dancing.
“That’s how I want to express myself,” he said. “By dancing, even if there’s only girls on the team.”
Although not a team captain, he sees his role as somewhat of a leader to the younger dancers, given that he’s a senior, the only male and several inches taller than everyone else on the team.
“It’s a lot of responsibility, because when you perform you’re the focal point because you are the only male,” he said. “I have to try harder.”
At first, he thought he would not be good at it, but he had always had so much fun dancing that he decided to try out for the team anyway.
The girls treat him like another member of the team, although, he says his clownish ways make him stand out.
“I feel that when I am there, it’s more fun,” he said.
The real rivalry is with the boys in the other dance teams. They all try to outdance each other, with sharper, stronger, better moves.
For Zepeda, dancing is not just a hobby but a career path in the making. He wants to attend Central Washington University. If he makes it to Ellensburg, he wants to try out for the dance team.
He would like to major in marine biology, but that’s still a few months in the future.
The second of five children, he says he has the support of his parents to pursue his love of dancing.
“At first, I was a little scared to tell them,” he said, adding that his father told him, to ‘“do what you like. If that’s what you want to do, I’m OK with it.’”
Boys who choose to dance will face other people’s judgment, Zepeda says.
“People will say, ‘Oh, that’s a female sport, you shouldn’t do that,’” Zepeda said. “I didn’t let them get to me. My self-esteem is really high for those type of comments that they are irrelevant to me.”
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com