Hidden away in the quiet streets of suburban Fishers is a dance academy that teaches kids to pop and lock, spin heads, DJ and dance hip-hop, among other things. 31Svn Street Dance Academy is the long-awaited dream of Zach Clar, who found himself drawn to street dancing 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 Battle Ground Zero street dance event, Zach began traveling to Grand Rapids to take lessons with Seoul. After several years, Zach’s family convinced Seoul to move to Indianapolis. Seoul was familiar with the street dance scene in Indianapolis and knew that the community would support the creation of an inclusive street dance academy.
Seoul was convinced that the Indianapolis area would be an ideal location for a street dance academy due to the number of families in the area. “So many kids are pushed into team sports in hopes of finding a physical outlet,” Seoul says. “But many students don’t like team sports and are stuck without a physical way to express themselves. Finding a dance, like breakdancing or hip-hop, gives them the physical outlet kids need.
In 2018, 31Svn SDA opened and was the first street dance academy in Indiana. Since its inception, 31Svn SDA has mentored thousands of students and stands out for its inclusive approach, welcoming all styles of street dances, while maintaining the integrity of its core dance style. Since opening, 31Svn SDA has shared the stage with nationally acclaimed artists and organizations like the Pacers, The Big Brothers/Big Sisters National Convention, Indiana Sports Corp and more. Plus, they hold events and battles across the Circle City to bring dancers from all over the United States to Indianapolis.
For parents more familiar with ballet or tap lessons, street dancing is an urban-inspired style of dance that is social and improvisational in nature. It often features group dances such as breakdancing, popping, locking, house dancing and more. 31Svn’s style is heavily influenced by the historical roots of street dancing, when dancers of color (primarily black and Latino) were not welcome in traditional dance studios and therefore found themselves dancing in the streets, at neighborhood parties, in schoolyards and other places. Street Dance gives voice to underrepresented communities. Seoul and the 31Svn SDA team take this to heart, not only teaching dance, but inspiring students to talk about race and culture and the impact it has on their communities and their dance.
The crew’s connection with the kids is what really stands out. From the outside, street dancing can seem assertive or for teenagers or adults. The 31Svn Crew has built a family-friendly, nurturing and collaborative environment where young students, many of whom are boys, work together and celebrate each other’s artistic expression. Watching a class, you can hear the real excitement in Seoul’s voice as a student masters a new technique; he clearly has a passion for dancing 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 way to allow students to further immerse themselves in all aspects of street dance culture.
31Svn Street Dance Academy offers courses ranging from children (5 years and over) to adults, as well as as well as summer camps.