Sometimes junior Ahmad Rasheed gets urges to just stop walking and break out into dance. And whenever that happens he does just that – and he never has a problem attracting an audience.
Rasheed, a bioinformatics major in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in GW’s eight-year medical program, said his passion for dancing just flared up when he got to GW. He remembers at Colonial Inauguration there was a dancing event and he won a t-shirt for being the worst dancer there. But he said that technique doesn’t matter, he just loves the energy rush.
“I’ve been described as being a cross between someone having a seizure and not falling over,” he said, laughing at himself. His favorite music to dance to is techno or anything “really fast,” he said, and some of his dance moves he developed through Playstation’s Dance Dance Revolution, a fast-paced video game where you follow on-screen dancing steps.
Most have seen him before – he said he usually ends up in Kogan Plaza or outside of Thurston Hall because they build up the best crowds – but it doesn’t really matter where he is on campus when he busts a move and rallies an audience.
“It allows me to express a great deal of what I feel when I hear music,” he said. “Dancing by yourself is fun – but it’s a lot more fun when other people are around.”
He said people’s reactions to him vary – some laugh and point, while others start cheering. And sometimes, students join in the dance party.
“It’s the best feeling with the spontaneity catches,” he said. But, he added, when people make fun of him or give him strange looks for dancing in public, it doesn’t faze him.
“It’s a lot more important what I think of myself,” he said.
No matter what people think, Rasheed’s dancing gets him attention. He said his dancing has, to a point, helped him make friends in different social circles whom he otherwise probably wouldn’t have gotten to know. And he always likes to hear if his dancing has had any influence on his audience.
“Some find it inspiring. Somebody once said it makes them feel more alive. And some actually like my moves,” he said. “The message that I’m trying to give is that you don’t have to do what everybody expects you to do. And people usually like that message.”
Rasheed, from Iowa, said he pretty much keeps his dancing to the District’s city streets because it’s easier to dance in a campus environment.
But, ironically, he avoids the club scene in D.C. and opts to dance on the streets instead because it brings him more satisfaction. He said he’s only been to a club once, and didn’t like it because of the mindset guys have about dancing with girls.
“At a club, dancing for the sake of dancing gets diluted,” he said.
Rasheed said he hopes to always continue dancing spontaneously like he does on campus, even when he graduates and becomes a doctor. And, even though he still has that t-shirt from CI labeling him the worst dancer, he said he can see himself constantly improving.
Said Rasheed: “Since then I’ve gotten enough compliments to feel like I’m getting better.”
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