Ian Eastwood shares his experiences and knowledge of dance with UCR students

Erica Haas/HIGHLANDER

Last Thursday, Oct. 18, a long line wrapped around the corner near The Well on the second floor of the HUB. Students had begun lining up half an hour early, all for a chance to meet one of their favorite dancers. In a event presented by ASPB from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m, at HUB 302, dancing legend Ian Eastwood paid UCR students a visit to talk about his experiences with professional dance and the entertainment industry.

Eastwood, a dancer and choreographer by trade, began dancing at the age of 10. His career started with him uploading his dances to Youtube in order to exchange critiques with other Youtube dancers. Over the next few years, his videos accumulated views and Eastwood was given the opportunity to travel around the country and teach dance.

“I’ve been watching his dance videos from the very beginning and he has honestly inspired me so much and it gave me hope to see someone young like me succeed,” said first-year business major Alex Silaphet.

Eventually Eastwood settled in Los Angeles and now, at the age of 25, his resume includes working with and choreographing routines for popular artists like Justin Bieber, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, Zendaya, Tori Kelly and many more. He has also showcased his talents on TV shows such as America’s Best Dance Crew, Dancing with the Stars and World of Dance.  

For the first two hours of the event, Eastwood talked about his experience with the dance industry and his struggle with staying creative and inspired. He spoke about how his choreography process changed over the years after feeling too much pressure and restriction with his previous routines. Eastwood’s goals for his career now are to live in the moment with his dancing, reach out to young dancers and pass down the knowledge he has accumulated.

“I started last year throwing more jams and more opportunities to bring the dance community together and just have a lot of positivity for anyone who wants to dance,” stated Eastwood.

After the moderated Q&A finished, students were allowed to line up and ask Eastwood questions directly. One of the highlights of the Q&A was Eastwood’s advice to students interested in pursuing dance. He suggested that students not let their personal experiences and what other people say to change the way they feel about dance. Eastwood expressed that the drama should not distract from the love of dance.

“I wasted a lot of time feeling bad about certain things in dance, but letting those affect my love and passion and overall enjoyment is where I think I’ve fallen short,” said Eastwood, “Because compared to the lowest moments that dance has made me feel not good, it’s made me feel so much better times a million.”

To people who are dance enthusiasts or looking to get into dancing, Eastwood had two further pieces of advice. One, to have the right mindset and two, to find the aspects of dance that interests you the most. “Start with types of dance that you’re most excited about and this way you’ll feel that you are growing faster because it is important to you,” said Eastwood.

As an added bonus before the event, APSB hosted a special competition for UCR students. The requirements were that students film and post a 30 second clip of themselves showcasing their best moves, with the hashtag #IanEastwoodUCR. If selected, the lucky students were able to partake in a dance session taught by Eastwood himself.

The contest ended on Monday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. and four winners were selected. While Eastwood could not provide a dance lesson due to an injury, the winners, students Katheryn Valle, Frances Abalos, Brennen Brixey and Kyle Christer Hamada, were able to sit down with him and ask him any questions they had about dancing.

“I asked him what’s the best way to get back into the dancing industry if you have been on hiatus for a few years and how do you jump back into after being discouraged by other people,” commented contest winner Katheryn Valle, a fourth-year Philosophy/Law and Society major. Valle added that, “He told me that if I loved it enough that I would keep going. He gave me the motivation to go back and pursue a passion I thought I couldn’t pursue anymore.”

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