‘Dancing off’ to a good start

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In the words of Yung Joc, a dance off between two incoming freshmen was “goin’ down” in MWSU Fieldhouse during Griffon Edge in 2010. Surrounded by a crowd of white-shirted freshmen, Josh Yakovitz’s vibrant yellow shirt stood out as he robotically controlled his limbs in a smooth fashion. He pulled a Michael Jackson, moon walking swiftly around the circle. He folded his back backwards like a slinky, yet never hit the floor. The onlookers stayed silent as they watched in amazement.

Josh Yakovitz shows off some of his moves in Blum Union to anyone who wants to watch. Photo by Jason Brown.

His opponent fired back, sporting his moves and ending his turn by pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it on the floor as if to say “Top that.”

Yakovitz walked past his challenger, who thought he had won until Yakovitz jumped on stage only to do a back flip from it.

“That came out of nowhere,” sophomore and long-time friend Alex Merling said of Yakovitz’s performance at the Griffon Edge event. “That brought out a long line of dance offs.”

To view the Griffon Edge dance off, search “dance off at mowo” on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heekEC7Ua00).

Merling also said after the Griffon Edge weekend, another student had heard about Yakovitz and challenged him to a dance off in the parking lot. Yakovitz won.

This dancing machine is a sophomore now, yet he’s been dancing since high school. Merling said he remembers meeting Yakovitz his freshman year of high school and watching him beat seniors in dance offs. He was always known as “that dancing guy.”

Winning dance offs for Yakovitz never discontinued. In fact, he took first place at last semester’s Western Activities Council Talent Show after winging his choreography. He mixed the song he wanted to dance to an hour before, then pondered how he was going to perform to it. He figured out a basic plan for certain parts of the mix, but he overall just wanted to go with the flow and not look technical on stage.

“I don’t really think; I just hear the music,” Yakovitz said. “I just listen to music all day, every day.”

Yes, Yakovitz can often be seen with his headphones in, bobbing his head to some tunes.

Although he’s a big fan of music, dancing didn’t necessarily come natural to him.

Yakovitz said he would spend from two to three hours in his basement learning new moves from YouTube and his influences, like Chris Brown.

“I like watching all different styles because it’s interesting to see what people can do with their bodies,” Yakovitz said. “If I was trying to get one thing right, I did it until I got it right; time wasn’t my main focus.”

Yakovitz’s determination has allowed him to become a versatile dancer. Merling says he can dance to any slow or upbeat song, and that he picks up moves very easily. While he does use various styles of dancing, he enjoys using his hat as a prop.

“I really like the hat tricks,” Yakovitz said. “The hat stays stationary while your whole body’s moving, so it’s pretty cool.”

Yakovitz doesn’t go to school for dancing, however. He came to Missouri Western for the business program, so he is double majoring in marketing and finance. While he’s not exactly sure what he wants to do with his major right now, he knew being in a fraternity would benefit him in the business department.

In turn, he joined Phi Delta Theta. He currently holds the Brotherhood and Intramurals chairs, and he also helps at events.

Being in a fraternity doesn’t keep him away from dancing, though.

In fact, Merling, who is also a member, said when Yakovitz danced, he helped raise a lot of money during the Buy-a-Phi event because a lot of students kept bidding for him.

While Yakovitz is staying focused on school, he still finds time to bust a move.

“Anytime there’s music, he would dance,” Merling said. “It’s fun to watch.”

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