Isaiah Strozier, Winner of Hawk It Out

Name: Isaiah Strozier

Hometown: Born in Germany, but currently living in Goldsboro, NC

Year: Junior

Major: Communication; Minor: Theatrical Arts

 

 

Meet Isaiah Strozier, this year's winner of Hawk It Out, UNCW's dance competition which is modeled after So You Think You Can Dance. As a transfer student, this is only Isaiah's second semester here and he has gone above and beyond to make a name for himself at UNCW thanks to his passion and talent for dance. Read on to find out how he prepared for the competition, what his favorite dance style is, and where you can view some of his dancing!

HC: How did you get involved with dance? And how long have you been a dancer?

IS: Dance started when I was still in my mama’s tummy. I’ve been dancing all my life. Professionally, I didn’t get into dancing until about 13 or 14. Before we left Germany, I took a few dance classes in jazz, hip hop, and tap. Everyone tried to get me to do ballet, but that’s not really my forte.

HC: When was your first dance competition? How did it make you feel?

IS: Hawk It Out was my first dance competition. I’ve done recitals, I’ve done different little small town events, and dancing out in the schoolyard with my friends. I was extremely nervous for this performance, because I’ve never freestyled in front of an audience like that before and because I’ve never done a dance competition. The crowd was absolutely amazing. With every little move, I felt a connection that I’ve never really felt before with the audience and it seemed like they wanted me. A lot of times you have audiences that are just watching you and then you have those audiences that are with you. It felt like they were with me and wanting me to do great. I can’t tell you how much fun I had on that stage.

HC: How did you prepare your routine for Hawk It Out?

IS: It was all freestyled. I didn’t plan any moves going into it. I planned for the different hats I wore and I planned for the music I danced to. I spent so much time building my song set list that I didn’t practice enough. I had group projects and other things coming up, so I called my mom and said “I’m just gonna wing it. I’m just gonna go out there and dance like I do in my bedroom.” So I literally just listened to my tracklist for two days before the performance and then I just went on stage and had fun, without any choreography restrictions or anything.

HC: Do you have any weird pre-performance rituals?

IS: I do actually. Performers that say they don’t are lying to you. One thing I do is the football player jog. Before I go on stage, I’m in a huddle with my friends doing a quick jog step and then we go right on stage. We do that the minute leading up to the curtain opening and going on stage. I jump around a lot. It’s like I’m shaking out my nerves with every jump.

HC: How has your family contributed to your career in dance?

IS: My mom used to turn on different genres of music like reggae, dance hall, or Irish music and make us dance to different types of music to get culturally aware of everything. When my dad was growing up he was really into break dancing and then he just stopped and he doesn’t really dance anymore, but he plays around with it sometimes. On the days right before I leave Goldsboro to come back to Wilmington, me and my brothers and sisters will make up a line dance style type dances and do it in the driveway right before I leave. We started posting them online and they started getting a lot of views. We all like to dance together.

HC: Who are some dancers that you look up to?

IS: Keone Madrid, an amazing husband and wife duo, Les Twins, a twin duo out of France that flow together really well and have awesome synchronization, Urban Dance Camp, and World of Dance.

HC: Currently, what is your favorite dance move?

IS: That’s tricky, it depends on my mood. If I had to choose one, definitely the Milly Rock. It’s one of those dances you can do to any song, because it fits in perfectly with any song. That’s definitely one of my go to moves.

HC: Current favorite song?

IS: Between Work by Rihanna or anything by Drake.

HC: What is your favorite style of dance?

IS: It kinda goes through phases. Mostly, a groovy type popping style is my go to, but I’ll whip and nae nae if the song calls for it.

HC: Do you have any social media accounts that people interested in seeing you dance can check out?

IS: Most of my videos go to my Facebook page, but I do also have a YouTube Channel. On my YouTube Channel, I do a weekly update of what my life in college is, so all throughout the week I film and you might see my GoPro going up and down Chancellor’s just filming different things. At the end of the weekend I post a vlog video of what happened that week in college and I also put my dance videos up there.

HC: Any advice to your fellow Seahawks? Words of wisdom to those looking to pursue a career in dance?

IS: There’s the huge lie going around of people telling themselves, “I can’t dance.” That is the BIGGEST lie! You have to find what you’re good at dancing to. Everybody has rhythm and everybody can dance. It might not be hip hop, it might be ballet. It might not be ballet, it might be Irish Dance.  It might not be Irish Dancing, it might be salsa. But everybody can dance, you just have to find the right plug for you and once you find your plug, go with it. Also, open yourself up to opportunities to dance. Or just dance at home, don’t be afraid to dance. I’ll dance in the middle of Chancellor’s sometimes. Just by myself, dancing, it’s so liberating and so free.