Josiah Mark ‘Siah’ Go still remembers his first battle like it was yesterday.
The atmosphere is lively. A crowd gathers around to witness the event.
The adrenaline begins to pump through the 14-year-old’s veins, causing his heart to beat louder than the music, louder than the crowd. As he steps up to the floor, he finds out that his opponents are two of the city’s best break dancers, Gomo and Nerve.
“I remember thinking, ‘We are totally gonna get smoked today.’”
With fear weighing on him, Siah decides to let go of the pressure as he lets the booming sounds of the beats take control of his mind. He begins to dance.
“Honestly, as soon as you let loose and touch the floor and do your thing, all you gotta have is confidence to show.”
The battle was the first of many for Siah, who became addicted to the feeling that overwhelms him every time he breaks on the floor. Even though his crew lost that battle, his spirit and love for dance grew immensely.
Judging his first battle was dancer Tara Wilson, who became a fan of Siah and his moves.
“I remember, when he was 14, I told him that if he ever needed help with anything to get at me because I think you’re really talented.
Wilson kept seeing Siah in the dance scene and witnessed his growth as an artist.
At first Siah wanted to be a battle b-boy; one of the best, even. He wanted to be known worldwide and have enough status to battle in different places and competitions. But, as he grew, he found a much bigger and louder calling.
“The more teaching I did the more I realized I love teaching more than I love battling.”
Teaching seemed like the obvious choice for Siah. During his high school graduating year, he was on the brink of not graduating. Yet, with determination, he managed to receive his high school diploma. The he began to weigh his options; what could he do now?
“I always thought, with the grades I had I’m not getting into university unless I upgrade a couple of times. I tried that – I didn’t really like it.”
Going through his own coming of age tale, Siah decided to approach Wilson, who is now the co-owner and creative director of dance company: Pulse Studios.
Wilson, being a fan, was excited to have Siah join her team.
“Sometimes you have those people that just naturally share the same vision as you do and see their role very similarly to you,” says Wilson.
Siah began shadowing some of the instructors at Pulse. Soon after, he began teaching himself.
“He really, really genuinely cares about his students more than just dancing and looks at all his students as people.” -Tara Wilson
“I was still like, ‘OK, I’m gonna test this out, if teaching is what I wanna do then I’ll do it, but for now let me just test it out.’”
Once he began teaching, Siah found a new goal and deeper passion for dance.
Wilson says Siah has a very strong influence on his students in more ways than just dance; he helps them become better and more adjusted. He was the dancer that the studio needed.
“He really, really genuinely cares about his students more than just dancing and looks at all his students as people.”
Dawn Smith, mother of four of Siah’s students, says that all of her children look at Siah as their inspiration – not only for dance but in life.
“Pulse would not survive without Siah,” shares Smith.
There is something particular about seeing his students grow that brings pride and happiness to Siah.
“Just seeing the improvement itself is super fulfilling to me and it inspires me all the time to be like, you know what? This is why I dance now to share it with the kids I teach and to watch them grow and to see what they do with it.”
Siah has been teaching at Pulse Studios for three years and now he sees his original goal of dance battling in a new light.
“Now I want to travel and battle, and then bring back what I experience in that battle to tell my students about it.”
It is more than just the moment and rush of battling for Siah.
“To be able to do that helps me grow. It forces me to remember things, to think about my students and to be like, ‘This is something really cool I could share with my students.’”
The moments that Siah had gone through in dance have surely guided his role in society. He has grown from a young bboy into a passionate dancer and teacher.
“No doubt, I wanna be known for my battling skills and my moves, but I have all these experiences to share and even through that, I feel like I’m growing and progressing.”
Siah looks to pass on his all of his experiences and knowledge in dance to his students in hope that they also progress in dance and find that special thing which he found himself.
Editor: Nathan Woolridge | firstname.lastname@example.org