Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Meet Sheng Poon, Dance Master

 

Sheng Poon, a third year International Studies student of Eleanor Roosevelt College, embodies the spirit of a true overachiever. While being a full time student at UCSD, he finds time to incorporate his calling, dance, into every aspect of his life. Whether he’s dancing when waiting in line for food or being the emcee for major dance events, Sheng’s love of dance is apparent and exciting to watch. The positive energy that flows from his movements is a result of his all-time philosophy: To give back to the community and to love people. His positivity is also apparent in his choice of music; his favorite song at the moment is Chance the Rapper’s “Everybody’s Something.” To learn more about this amazing individual, keep reading! 
 
Describe your history with dance.
I started dancing through YouTube tutorials. Daniel Jerome was the first person I looked up religiously for dance videos on YouTube. This was way back when he was dancing in his garage. In middle school, c-walking was popular and I learned how to do it. I got caught up in the craze and wanted to learn more techniques. My friend and I had a trade-off where he would teach me how to pop and I would teach him how to c-walk. After a while, I started to perform at homecoming performances at my high school. When I wanted more experience, I decided to join my first hip hop team, MVP San Jose, and I have been bouncing around since. I joined GTFO (Get the Funk On), UCSD Ascension Hip Hop, Academy of Villains (AOV), and Break Through. Now, I am just a free agent.
 
What is your master plan?
I endeavor to master all of the street freestyle styles of dance. So far I have been dabbing with house, popping, locking, waacking, and so on, but I have a bigger picture in mind. My goal is to become well versed in all these elements so that I can find something I can uniquely call my own. 
I’m not sure what I am going to do career-wise. What I do know is that my future is going to be nomadic. I want to move around, travel, have one suitcase worth of belongings, crash from one friend’s place to another friend’s place, and just keep going. My dream has always been to teach dance workshops internationally. I want to be flown out and shown the world by teaching dance. I also want to be invited out to emcee for community events and help foster the community in a plethora of ways. I have all these dance aspirations and if that means I have to pick up a day job or a side job, I am down for that. In general, I am not sure what is going to happen, but I do know that whatever I do, I am going to love it and that I am going to give back to the community.
 
What are some of your most significant achievements in dance?
Two competitions come to mind. The first one is when GTFO won 3rd place at JC Penney’s annual national Breakout Performer Competition. GTFO was a dance crew that I created with two of my best friends. We started this crew because we wanted to compete in a small high school talent show. We had no vision for it at all; we just wanted to do one show and call it a day. However, when we got third place and got the opportunity to perform at a district talent show, we decided to try out for the internet world. GTFO submitted a talent video and got third place. This meant a lot to me because it was what sparked the idea of dancing as more than a small gig and it was a competition I won with my best friends.
The second competition that comes to mind is when AOV got into the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent. This was significant because it was a culmination of not only 5 years of dance experience, but of 12 hours of daily rehearsals along a period of two months. It was the result of back breaking perseverance and our director’s artistic struggle. It was also momentous because it was my first time experiencing TV. TV shows are really weird. My experience with America’s Got Talent gave me a new perspective on media life and where I want to aim my passion, time, and energy in terms of my future dance career. 
 
What is the greatest lesson you learned from being a dancer?
I learned that the world is interconnected and is interwoven like a fabric. Regardless of what skill sets you have been given or what path you choose in life, at the end of the day, you need to be using those skills to love people in one form or another. For example, if I were a bioengineer and I had the skill sets to be incredibly talented in math and science, I would want to love the world by creating an awesome artificial heart. However, since I am a dancer, I aspire to help the community and build power through the love of movement. In a nutshell, no matter what you do, the point is to give back to the world and love people.
 
What is your current dance agenda?
I am currently directing an Encinitas based junior team called Lost&Found. The team consists of dancers from age 13-19. Stay on the lookout for them! I teach workshops here and there whenever people ask me to out in the greater San Diego area. I also teach campus dance organizations such as [N]motion, Kasa, Ascension UCSD, Kasama Modern, etc. If you want to hang out, definitely join one of those organizations. I also have a weekly improvisation class with Miriam Lucas at the Culture Shock Dance Center every Thursday from 7:30-9:00 PM.
As for emceeing, I am really excited to be the emcee at the Fusion XIV, the 14th annual dance competition held at UCSD. I am passionate about fostering community and a big way to do that, as a speaker and communicator, is to talk to and about the dance community. There will be many people coming in from Irvine and the greater Southern California area. I want people to come through not just to see their friends and awesome performers, but to see and help the community at large. My favorite memory of emceeing was at UCSD’s first Dance Appreciation Night 2013. It was the first time I felt that the UCSD dance community was cohesive, tangible, and on fire. 
 
How do you balance dance with other responsibilities?
It’s funny how responsibilities work. What I found was that when I take on more responsibilities and stay on top of them, it snowballs into other aspects of my life. If I wake up on time and pay attention in all my classes, I know I will have a great day. I will teach a bomb class, I will take a bomb class, and I will direct a bomb class. However, if I think negatively and sleep in, don’t go to class, that negative energy snowballs and hinders my dance responsibilities. The way I stay on top of my duties is by knowing why I do what I do and that is because I love dance.
 
What do you do in your free time besides dance? 
I usually hang out with my best friend, Shane Yuan. We stay at his place, watch YouTube videos, and play zombie games. If you are interested, check out Boxhead 2play.
 
Where are some of your favorite places in San Diego?
I like visiting Julian. There are hikers everywhere. It feels like Christmas time even in June and July. Also, every UCSD student needs to make a Tijuana trip at least once! 
I also need to go to SeaWorld. I haven’t been there yet.
As for places I love to dance, I really enjoy dancing at Geisel. You know the area outside where it starts to look like a spaceship? I love dancing there! I get thirty minutes into my studying, and then I feel the urge to out outside and dance. I also really love dancing in RIMAC. I like it especially when I can’t get a room. I love dancing in the little pocket in the corner of RIMAC next to Room 3 where I can overlook the arena. Dance anywhere! It doesn’t matter if you have a mirror or not. 
 
Do you have any advice for aspiring dancers?
I suggest you get plugged into a community. Whether that means a YouYube community or a dance team, get connected. I believe that people are social beings and that they are meant to connect and interact with one another. Movement, especially hip hop dancing, is founded on social dancing, so it is intrinsic to our art form. My second piece of advice, especially centered to dancers who are especially driven and passionate for dancing careers, is to stay centered in who you are and never to forget that you started dancing because it was fun. Don’t get tied up in the logistics and how the world works. You started because you wanted to. Just enjoy dancing.
 
Jasmine is currently a senior at the University of California, San Diego. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Education Studies. Jasmine is the Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus UCSD, along with the amazing Taylor Zepeda. Jasmine spends most of her time volunteering at low socioeconomic status elementary schools across the San Diego county and grading papers for classes she is a Teacher's Assistant in. Novel wise, she is an avid fan of Edith Wharton and the Lord of the Rings series. She also loves comedic shows like New Girl and The Big Bang Theory, but also enjoys thrillers like Criminal Minds. One of Jasmine's favorite hobbies is trying foods of different cultures; she loves visiting cultural nights and community festivals. Above all, Jasmine worships Beyonce (a.k.a. Beysus, Queen Bee, Baeyonce, etc). Her future aspiration in life is to become the Secretary of Education and have the Hov and B over for dinners.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️