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Kristian Bandeira has been break dancing for six years and performed frequently throughout high school. Although almost no one in his town used this form of expression, Bandeira continued to practice and teach other kids in his neighborhood under the ‘B-Boy’ name, Riser. He still practices in the Marine Corps and wants to continue for the rest of his life.

Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria

What I've Learned: Kristian Bandeira

25 Sep 2014 | Cpl. Charles Santamaria Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Bandeira has been break dancing for six years and performed frequently throughout high school. Although almost no one in his town used this form of expression, Bandeira continued to practice and teach other kids in his neighborhood under the "B-Boy" name, Riser. He still practices in the Marine Corps and wants to continue for the rest of his life.

>I chose the name Riser because, in my opinion, dancing has taught me to rise to the occasion or to always rise above any competition.

>I really don’t go to a studio so I guess you can say my room is my own personal one.

>To be honest I can practice anywhere but the best place for me is a good wooden floor.

>Concrete is also really great to practice on once you get past the pain and get used to it but it can be dangerous. To be alone and train, I will sometimes go to the top floor of the barracks parking lot and just practice and get in the zone.

>In high school, I never talked to anyone, especially my freshman and sophomore year, but dancing let that confidence come out because when I dance, there’s no fear or anxiety, it’s just performing.

>I practice any time I can. If I see something I like, I’ll work it into a routine and constantly try it.

>YouTube also helps me learn moves through tutorials if it’s too complicated.

>Dancing helps me express myself, and for me, and others I hope, it is a unique form of art.

>My favorite group of dancers would have to be the Jabbawockeez. They created a form of pop-locking called "Dime Stop." It basically has fast movements with even quicker stops in between, sort of like "stopping on a dime."

>When I’m in front of a crowd, I feel happy and excited but I have to stay calm and collected. I have to perform and be sharp, so I can’t let emotions get to me.

>I have battled other people and I guess you could say I never lost. Once I got to California, I started going up against much more advanced dancers.

>Dancing comes natural to me now, almost as natural as walking. It’s affected my life so much and it helped me come out of my [shell] growing up.

>For the first two homecoming dances I had in high school, I came in sunglasses, a bandana over my face, and a hat and performed for everyone. For two years, no one knew who I was, I finally revealed myself my junior year. It was funny to see the reactions because I never really spoke to anyone or was very popular, so I chose to only display my dancing.

>My dream is to one day perform on national television in front of millions; that would be cool.

>In high school I practiced about three hours a day or any time I could. That’s part of the challenge of being a "B-Boy," you constantly have to practice your moves and refine them.

>I like meeting other people who can dance and practicing with them so we can learn from each other.

>Battling is also exciting, but I learn a lot from them as well and you put your skills to the test.

>It turned out that after I left my high school, a lot more people began break dancing. I guess they thought, "Hey this guy’s getting too much of the spotlight, I want to have some of that attention too."

>I’m looking forward to meeting more break dancers in the future even in the Marine Corps. I’ve already met some while stationed here, including a gunnery sergeant who used to dance back in the day, so you never know.

>Honestly, I want to keep dancing for the rest of my life. It has given me so much and even though I’m in the military, I am a firm believer in that if you truly love something that is a big part of your life, you will always find time to do it no matter what.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms