Every Monday from 3:30-4:30 pm West Seattle kids are invited to the Youngstown Cultural Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW to learn the basics of breakdancing with local b-boys Sammy Tekle and Robert Eyerman. Students don’t need experience and everyone is welcome.
Both Sammy and Robert learned the art of breakdancing from local dance legend Jerome Skee Aparis; a member of the World Champion Massive Monkees breakdance crew. Sammy and Robert’s group the VPC Dog Pound have also made a name for themselves by appearing at Seattle’s “Dance This!” at the Paramount Theater. Additionally, Sammy has most recently been seen at the Grammy’s dancing behind Macklemore during the opening segment featuring Macklemore’s song “Downtown”.
Both Sammy and Robert are well respected instructors with a number of local community organizations and charities including ArtsCorps, Rectech, ARC, and Unified Outreach. But our favorite part of the story is that Sammy and Robert both got their start breakdancing at the same location that they are now teaching classes. Nearly 10 years ago both beginning taking classes at Youngstown.
LOOKING FOR AN ADVANCE CLASS? There is also an additional advanced class from 5:30-6:30 pm that costs ~$60/month. The proceeds will go toward an end-of-year field trip to an out-of-state event that Sammy and I will be sponsoring. All ages welcome.
If you’re a teacher, parent, or anyone closely involved in the life of a youth, I urge you to share this post with as many of the other teachers/parents, and especially with the youth. Spread the word – let’s impact the next generation together.
June 20, 2015 Seattle’s Central District came together to celebrate long time advocates for youth, arts, social justice, and stronger neighborhoods; honoring some of Seattle’s most legendary names.
“We selected men who personally impacted us. The men in the room are the ledges whose shoulder we stand on.” Said Garfield Community Center Director Andre Franklin. Another member of the advisory committee stated that seeing so many true community leaders in one place left them “in awe”.
The event was birthed from a partnership between B.U.I.L.D. (Brothers United In Leadership Development), Unified Outreach, and the Garfield Community Center Advisory Board; along with Seattle Parks, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and 4Culture.
The event featured a full buffet spread with home style chicken, macaroni, greens, and corn bread. An incredible meal that in itself was worthy of celebration.
Music and MC duties were provided by DJ Surreal (aka George Yasutake), and guests were treated to a gravity defying performance from one of Seattle’s hottest breakdance groups, the Vicious Puppies (aka Dog Pound). Last month the Vicious Puppies brought their dramatic stage presentation of “Black and Blue” to the Neptune Theatre. The play brings social conscience and race relations to the front lines with a true-to-life story based on actual events. The play has received great reviews and the group is looking to expand the touring calendar throughout the summer. The Puppies have also played the main stage at the Sasquatch tour and other large venue events and are quickly becoming one of Seattle’s most in-demand groups.
Award honorees included well known community leaders who have served the people of Seattle for decades; as well as shining stars actively making a difference today.
The event recognized Mike Yasutake, John Yasutake, Gregory Davis, Aaron Dixon, Elmer Dixon, Bishop Ray Rogers, Steve Sneed, James Hampton, Reco Bembry, Guy Davis, and Larry Evans.
Each award recipient was introduced by someone who had a personal story of how the award winner had impacted their life. The microphone was then handed to the award winner who then shared their own story about who had most impacted them. The ceremony was full of humor and laughter, as well as somber moments and tears of gratitude.
The afternoon culminated with the honoring and awarding of the new Robert Stephens, Jr. Community Service plaque which will hang in the Garfield Community Center.
Robert Stephens, Jr. has been a fixture in Seattle’s Central District for over 35 years. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Mr. Stephens, Jr. began serving the community after completing his tour in 1968. Mr. Stephens, Jr. has a Masters Degree in Education Psychology, is a K-12 teacher and school counselor, and has worked with Seattle Public Schools, Langston Hughes Cultural Art Center, Neighborhoods House, and Washington State Reformatory.
Mr. Stephens, Jr. has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations and governmental advisory committees over the years; and has had a hand in the establishment of Odessa Brown Health Clinic, Madrona Dance Studio (now Spectrum), Medgar Evers Swimming Pool, and dozens of other programs that are now an established part of the community.
Mr. Stephens, Jr. has served as the President of the Central Area Neighborhood District Council; founded the Seattle Central Area Cultural Arts Commission, and helped in the creation of Homer Harris Park.
When presenting the award, Garfield Community Center Advisory Council Member David Toledo stated “When we began searching for someone that exemplified the community spirit; someone who was a true advocate for our youth, for the arts, and for the neighborhood; we all knew right away that it was time to honor Robert Stephens, Jr.”