Ryan Barbonio dances through life

by Stephanie Peng, staff writer

Ryan Barbonio defies the laws of gravity and physics while showing off his expert hip-hop dance moves. photo by Oren Abrahams

Most students have been to those dreadful summer camps as kids and hated them.

But for senior Ryan Barbonio, a dance class his mom forced him to take when he was nine years old was the very experience that got him interested in his true passion  of hip-hop dancing.

“It just came naturally,” said Ryan excitedly.

Since this breakthrough, Ryan has come a long way.

When he joined San Ramon Valley Dance  Academy,  at age 12,  Ryan didn’t know that he would soon have the opportunity to perform in a world-class competition.

The dream became reality this summer when Ryan and his crew traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the week-long Hip Hop International Dance Competition.

His instructor and choreographer, Darnell Carrol, introduced him to the idea of competing with his dance crew in LA.

“Our company has always trained our dancers to be able to compete,” said Carrol, who has been Ryan’s hip-hop instructor for five years. “Ryan has actually grown to be one of the core members of our company.”

Hip Hop International produces live and broadcasts street-style dance competitions including MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” and is recognized internationally for its broadcasts, events, and competitions.

Ryan and his crew danced in the 10th annual USA and World Hip Hop Dance Competition, where they placed third of 55 U.S. crews and eighth out of more than 80 international crews.

“The competition was different than I expected because there were crews from all over the world,” said Ryan. “It was a good experience to meet a lot of people from so many different countries.”

Although Ryan did confront some difficulties while performing in his first major dance competition, including procrastination and unavoidable drama with members of his crew, he recalls the experience with a smile on his face.

“Our crew was pretty last minute. Sometimes we stayed up until 12 in the morning working on our routine,” Ryan said. “As for the drama, we managed to push our way through.”

Another key element of Ryan’s dancing is his role with Cal High’s dance program.

Since enrolling to Cal his sophomore year, Ryan has choreographed in Ryane Siegel’s dance classes for three years.

Having seen Ryan’s progress through high school, Siegel believes he has great potential to achieve success in hip-hop, and in life.

“Ryan is unbelievably talented, inspiring, energetic, and just an ultimate performer. I believe he has the ability to do what he wants,” said Siegel. “Not only does he have the ‘urban’ look, but he also has the talent to back it up.”

Ryan is unsure of him dance career because he knows that the field of hip hop dancing is very competitive.

Even though he doesn’t want to pursue a career in street-dancing, he hopes to continue to dance for the rest of his life.

After his experience in LA this summer, Ryan definitely plans on traveling and competing to pursue his passion as a hip-hop dancer.

He is currently preparing for the San Francisco Hip-Hop Dancefest in November.

“Dancing with him makes me a better dancer,” said senior Eduardo Gonzalez. “His choreography challenges me but we end up killing every dance show.”

Ryan’s choreography will  be showcased live at the Winter Dance Show Dec. 6-7 in the Cal High theater.