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Teens of expression: Nick Rodriquez

Saturday, August 4, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:24 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Nick Rodriguez dances, raps and plays guitar for the garage band Disruptive Perceptionz.

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.

Lyrics to "Mosh"

"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)

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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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Comments

b law August 4, 2007 | 9:19 a.m.

This is a great story, but it would be nice that you did not further the gap between race in our community by showcasing teenagers from minority populations only. We should be a community where all ethnicities and backgrounds are appreciated. There are wonderfully talented teens across mid missouri, just like the ones featured in the story, that do amazing things. Perhaps in order for our community to 'take the teens seriously' and quit catering to the college croud you should find teens that make a difference in our community and showcase them. There are good kids out there.

(Report Comment)
Philip Peters October 5, 2008 | 7:26 p.m.

B Law,
Shame on you for taking away from this very talented young man's story!
Your comments take the energy and positive message this kid wants to share and ruins it.

I happen to know Nick very well. He is a very positive thinking, very motivated and talented kid who has a positive effect on everyone around him.
He is not a thug, a gangster or a drug user. Nick has drive and determination and try's hard to succeed in everything he does. He is a good role model for other kids his age...of any race or background.

Nick not only break dances and plays in a band, but he has also been in Three (3) movies so far.
One is Killer Diller with the Hollywood actor Lucas Black.
That movie was filmed in Fayette, Missouri and is available on Amazon.com
Another one he is in is called American Shopper, and I'm not sure when it will be released.

I wish more teenagers would follow Nick's example. He is a positive kid with great spirit.
Race simply has no place in his life....he fits in everywhere he goes and is liked by everyone who meets him.
Nick has the kind of spirit and drive others only wish they had.
I am proud to know Nick. He is a great kid that fits in anywhere he goes.

I am a 50 yr old white business owner in Columbia.
If I can see the positive image Nick portrays anyone should be able to do so.

I for one, am very pleased that the Missourian and other media in Missouri have taken the time to feature Nick and his friends in their stories. I hope they keep doing so!
By the way...Nick's circle of friends, team members on Poetry in Motion and his band Disrupted Perceptionz are a mix of race and color...for those of you who think that matters.

(Report Comment)

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