Kouakou spreads his passion of dance as he explores his new comfort zone

Popping and locking are the focus of his life, but does Masumi Kouakou feel comfortable sharing this part of him? Kouakou is a ninth grader here at SPA. Looking at him one wouldn’t realize that outside of school Kouakou fills his time with hip hop and breakdancing. Kouakou’s mom put him in dance when he was eight, and he has been dancing his heart out ever since. For Kouakou, his dance studio is an escape where he doesn’t have to think about school work.

“Dance brings out a lot of emotion. It’s good to clear my head.” Kouakou said. At House of Dance Kouakou feels that he can be himself without being judged. House of Dance is a studio in Minneapolis providing hip-hop and breakdancing lessons for all ages.

Dance brings out a lot of emotion. It’s good to clear my head. ”

— Masumi Kouakou

At school it is a different story, he feels that people say they support it but he doesn’t feel that they fully support him. If he is asked to dance at school Masumi feels uncomfortable and out of place. Kouakou says “I feel like they think it’s different.” His peers see dancing as something “girly” or “not for boys” so Kouakou doesn’t bother telling anyone about it. Kouakou compares his comfort with sharing his dance experience at school to a bedroom. He says, “you don’t really want anyone to come in unless you want them to.” When asked why it was different at school rather than at his dance studio, Kouakou answered “It’s different because we all are in the same room.”

Through his experiences, Masumi Kouakou has learned that no matter where he goes, he wants to find his ‘room’ where he will be comfortable being himself and will be able to connect with the people around him. Stepping out of his comfort zone, Kouakou begins to find his stage wherever he goes and feels more comfortable sharing his passion to connect with others.