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Life’s a dance

Pham compositeTo the pulsing sounds of a boom box, Stephen Pham moves his body rapidly in front of the quad’s eternal flame. His hands push and pull in mime-like motions as his legs twist and bend effortlessly.

Primarily self-taught, the 22-year-old started dancing at age 10. Since then, he has won several competitions, from the National Panhellenic Council talent show at Nicholls to dance battles in Louisiana, Texas and Missouri. He’s a regular at the university’s RELATE open-mic nights and has collaborated with Brandon Harrell and Emilio Dosal, members of I.aM.mE., Season 6 winners of America’s Best Dance Crew.

“All my dances — performances, battles and what not — they’re all freestyle. They’re all based on how I feel,” he says.

More than 4,600 people have subscribed to Pham’s YouTube channel, featuring almost 100 videos filmed on campus, around his hometown of Houma and elsewhere. He considers his video collection an “open journal,” one that he will enjoy looking back on as he gets older.

“If it weren’t for dance, I don’t know what I’d be doing,” he says. “I don’t even know if I’d be in college. I don’t know if I would be able to pass college classes. It really keeps me motivated.”

Although he’s not sure exactly what he’ll do after graduation, he plans to use his marketing degree to continue promoting his stage name, Phamish, by traveling, performing and meeting new people.

“I know I’ll be fine if I just keep fighting and keep working to get better,” he says. “Dancing, to me, goes hand-in-hand with progressing. It’s endless.”

— Written by Bridget Mire, 2013 mass communication graduate

This article originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Voila! magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.

 

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