Hidden in the quiet suburban streets of Fishers is a dance academy teaching kids to pop and lock, head spin, DJ and hip-hop dance, among other things. 31Svn Street Dance Academy is the long-awaited dream of Zach Clar, who found himself drawn to street dance, but was looking for a dance academy that could help him develop his skills. After meeting Keegan Loye, whose dance name is Seoul at the IUPUI street dance event Battle Ground Zero, Zach began traveling to Grand Rapids to take lessons with Seoul. After several years, Zach’s family convinced Seoul to relocate to Indianapolis. Seoul was familiar with the street dance scene in Indianapolis and knew the community would be supportive in creating an inclusive Street Dance Academy.
Seoul felt confident the Indianapolis area would be an ideal location for a Street Dance Academy because of the number of families in the area. “So many children are pushed into team sports with the hope of finding a physical outlet,” Seoul explains. “But many students do not enjoy team sports and are stuck without a physical way to express themselves. Finding a dance, like breakdancing or hip-hop, gives them the physical mental outlet kids need.”
In 2018, 31Svn SDA opened and was the first street dance academy in Indiana. Since their debut, 31Svn SDA has mentored thousands of students, and sets themselves apart with their inclusive approach, welcoming all styles of street dances, while maintaining the integrity of their core dance style. Since opening, 31Svn SDA has shared the stage with nationally known artists and organizations like the Pacers, The Big Brothers/Big Sisters National Convention, Indiana Sports Corp and more. Additionally, they organize events and battles across the Circle City to bring dancers from across the U.S. to Indianapolis.
For those parents more familiar with ballet or tap classes, street dance is an urban-inspired dance style that is social and improvisational in nature. It often features group dances such as breakdance, popping, locking, house dance and more. 31Svn’s style is heavily influenced by the historic roots of street dance, when dancers of color (primarily Black and Latino) were not welcome in traditional dance studios and therefore found themselves dancing in the streets, at block parties, school yards and other places. Street Dance gives a voice to underrepresented communities. Seoul and the 31Svn SDA crew take that to heart, not only teaching dance, but inspiring the students to talk about race and culture and how that impacts their communities and their dance.
The crew’s connection with kids is what truly stands out. From the outside, street dance might seem assertive or for teens or adults. The 31Svn Crew has built a family-friendly, empowering and collaborative environment where young students, many of whom are boys, work together and celebrate one another’s artistic expression. Watching a class, you can hear the genuine excitement in Seoul’s voice as a student masters a new technique; he clearly has a passion for dance and helping kids succeed.
31Svn SDA hopes to connect with more students as they support the growing street dance community. They are planning several events this fall, and recently, 31Svn SDA expanded their class offerings beyond dance to include graffiti art and DJing as a means to further allow students to immerse themselves in all aspects of street dance culture.
31Svn Street Dance Academy offers classes for children (5 and up) through adults, as well as summer camps.