COLUMBIA-Nick Rodriguez, 16, never seems to just sit around. If he isn’t dancing, he’s writing rap lyrics. Or practicing guitar for his newly formed garage band, Disruptive Perceptionz. Or drawing or trying to improve as a graffiti artist. And he wants to act, too; he just hasn’t found an outlet yet.
“I don’t know what it’s like not to perform,” he says.
"Mosh"lyrics by Nick Rodriguez "Mosh if you hated, Mosh if you like it, Mosh if you don't like the people who stop and think about it. (X 2) Mosh when I am bored, Mosh when I am mad, mosh when I feel like been put through hell and back, people don't like to see people wearin' trip pants krumpin' headspin, now we stop lookin' at the haters grinning, I wish I could yell and mix all races no more discriminations now mad moshin' for some explanations that I can't get but I want. Quit and can't stop, haters want to see me fall lickity-split. I can't do it I stand whole they can't handle it. Mosh if you hated, Mosh if you like it, Mosh if you don't like the people who stop and think about it. (X 2) People don't like to see people wearin' different clothes, all they want to see is people wearin' Air Forces and Gboles, but I can't do it cause I'm too new and fresh too it, I have my own style it's do your own thing and go wild. I mean if you want to wear polka dots just do it, even if they laugh keep doin' your thing. Mosh if you hated, Mosh if you like it, Mosh if you don't like the people who stop and think about it. (X 2)
Dancing, in particular, is something Nick has been doing his whole life. Even when he’s just talking, his shoulders move subtly from left to right, as if sensing some beat or rhythm in the air.
He sees dancing as a way to be himself and to express things he can’t show otherwise. “It’s freedom,” he said. “From everything.”
When Nick break dances, his whole body becomes an instrument. To make a “freeze,” he dives into the ground, stopping himself with his sinewy arms as his legs kick up. For several moments, his body is a statue.
More than a year ago, Nick and his buddies formed Poetry in Motion, a move that pushed and inspired him to another level of self-expression. He borrows now from whatever he sees.
“I watch everyone else,” he says. “Ballet, gymnastics, ballroom dancing, everything.”
Nick’s creative influences are drawn from beyond dance though. “I’ll see something that interests me, that usually leads to something else, which leads to something else,” he says. “It gets me interested in things that it came from. I just want to find out more, or why. I ask a lot of questions.”
At Hickman High School, Nick knows his desire to create and perform is foreign to many of his classmates. He wishes more of them would have more passion.
“Everyone’s so quiet and off to themselves. People are like, ‘Oh, that’s just Nick,’” he says. “I want people to understand what I’m standing for.”
Nick sees himself as separate from other students who, in his view, dress the same, talk the same and think the same. He raps about this frustration in a hip-hop song, “Mosh.”
“I wrote about people being stereotypical in their dress and how they’re supposed to act,” he says. “The song’s dedicated to people who don’t understand and to people who have free spirits.”
Nick wishes more of Columbia would embrace teen expression and wouldn’t cater so much to the college-age crowd.
“We need more walls to paint,” he says. “More spaces available for people to be creative. More places for people to play instruments. We need more showcases where people can come in and show off their talents.”
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