Lydia Barajas shares her culture through dance


Photo Courtesy: Lydia Barajas

Emma Lupica, Editor-in-Chief

Freshman, Lydia Barajas has been dancing almost her whole life, but not the type of dancing many students would think. Barajas finds love in the art of hula dancing. Not only does it bring her joy, but to her audience as well.

“I started hula dancing when I was about 2 years old,” freshman Lydia Barajas said. “I watched my sister and my cousins hula dance and I knew I wanted to try it, so my mom let me. Once I got up on stage I knew I belonged up there.”

There are many different types of dancing but no matter what, Barajas always found herself back to hula dancing.

“I tried ballet when I was about seven, because I wanted to branch to see if I liked any other forms of dancing,” Barajas said. “I tried it for a little while, but in the end I stuck to hula dancing. There’s something about hula dancing that makes it totally different than other dances.There are tons of similarities, like technique, performing and all the work you have to put in, but hula dancing is also very different. In hula dancing, you have to keep your knees bent at all times, your hips have to moving the entire time and you have to remember to smile.”

Like everything, hula dancing has upsides and downsides. Barajas tells what makes her love the activity so much and the challenges that come along with it.

“My favorite part of hula dancing is the performing,” Barajas said. “There is no better feeling than standing up on stage and seeing people’s smiling faces in the audience. You realize that you put the smile on their faces. Putting joy in their hearts is my absolute favorite part of dancing. My least favorite part is all the technique you have to master. It’s a lot of work, getting everything down, but I know the technique is what makes you good and what makes it all worth it.”

Throughout her hula dancing experience, a devastating event took place that put her dancing career on hold.

“When I was 12 years old, which was 6th grade for me, my teacher was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Barajas said. “I was shocked, because she is the best person/teacher you could ever have. It bothered me that she had to go through this. When she got sick that’s when I decided to stop dancing. Now, my teacher is cancer-free and to be honest I miss hula dance so much. Hula dancing was apart of my childhood for so long, so I just miss it a lot.”

Barajas looks back on her experience in hula dancing and reflects on the good times she had in the spotlight.

“I miss hula dancing a lot,” Barajas said.” I miss the performing, the smiling faces, the new dances and even all the technique. It was a lot of work as I progressed in age and talent, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Everything about hula dancing is special. It’s a lot of work, but like anything else you love to do, it takes a lot of time and energy.”

Barajas embraces her experience and talent by continuing to incorporate hula dancing into her life even though she is no longer dancing officially.

“I’ve had the best experiences performing the art of hula dancing,” Barajas said. “Although I’m not dancing currently with my group anymore, I still practice a routine once in a while just to make sure I haven’t lost my talent. I hope more people think about trying hula dancing, because I can guarantee they won’t regret it.”