Cerritos College dance major Raul Ortega is using his passion to take him places.
Ortega, who has recently performed at this Saturday’s J.U.I.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival at the Ford Amphitheatre, has already accomplished a lot through dance in his 19 years of life.
He has been dancing since the age of 8 and is not slowing down anytime soon.
He has already received a couple of dance scholarships, including one for the Lula Washington Dance School and another for a dance program called World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.
Ortega, the winner of a one on one hip-hop battle at Concrete Classic 2, has also been in music videos and recently choreographed a dance scene in the movie Step Up 3D.
He currently dances with the Antics Dance Company and wishes to attend either Cal State Long Beach or Cal State Fullerton to further his career in dance.
Diana Gonzales, dance major and friend of Ortega, believes that he is using his talent in a great way.
“He has talent that a lot of people don’t have. He can do things that I haven’t seen other people do. He’s very unique in that way.
Along with talent, Ortega is also no stranger to team spirit.
After auditioning for the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” he made it to the Las Vegas round before dropping out of the competition in order to join his fellow dancers for the 2010 Spring Dance Concert at Cerritos College.
“I didn’t want to diss my people at Cerritos College for the show. I felt that would be wrong,” he commented.
In the eyes of a fellow dancer, Gonzales says he did the right thing.
“He made the right decision,” Gonzales said. “It would have been disrespectful to the instructor if he didn’t show up when he said he would.”
“Honestly I wasn’t upset. I was just happy to come back to Cerritos College where I am accepted by friends, even though they were mad at me for not continuing the show. Yes, I feel it was the right choice but my friends think otherwise,” Ortega said.
Dropping out of the competition didn’t phase him, because he still has big plans for the future.
With Michael Jackson as a role model, Ortega wants to follow the late artist’s footsteps in philanthropy.
“Because of his positivity and messages in his music, he helped others worldwide with love,” he said.
He also wants to one day use his talent to create a foundation to help people in poverty worldwide.
Ortega desires to become a positive role model for children because he believes “they are the future.”
Ortega is already on his way to mentoring a younger dancer named Freshman Nelms, a dancer who came up with the jerk movement. Nelms, who is 8 years old, is already on his way to getting in to films and Ortega plans on teaching him everything he knows.
Currently, Ortega is participating in a dance concert taking place at the Burnight theatre on November 4-6 and is working on a Christmas show for December.