Breaking Down His Love For Breakdance

Junior Ethan Lee recognized for being best high school-level breakdancer in Texas


Ciara Urrutia

Junior Ethan Lee demonstrates “the freeze” dance move. “I realized I had a passion for breakdancing when I was a freshman,” Lee said.

He turns the music on, feels the beat and begins practicing the “air flare,” one of the many moves in breakdancing.

Junior Ethan Lee has been breakdancing for five years. Lee said he was inspired by his brother, Justin Lee, who has been dancing since his junior year in high school.

“My brother joined a breakdancing club five years ago, and I would always watch him dance,” Ethan said. “Breakdancing teaches and shows you the process of hardwork.”

According to, breakdancing was influenced by a variety of sources like gymnastics, tap dance, capoeira and Kung Fu.

“Dancing is like freedom,” Ethan said. “It [is a way of expressing] yourself in different ways. I love the cool moves, especially air flares, which I am still [perfecting]. It took me a whole year to nail one. I felt really accomplished, and my brother was there to see me.”

In battles, which breakdancers have in open spaces, they participate in “quick-paced and turn-based routines” that usually consist of moves they made up themselves. Battles vary in the number of participants and range from head-to-head duels to battles of opposing breakdance crews or teams, according to

“I am in a crew, which I have done around 20 competitions with,” Ethan said. “I love the personality brought out of me when I dance. I am a whole different person.”

As part of the crew, Ethan competes in “jams,” which are battles or competitions.

“This past year I went to Florida for a jam in Miami,” Ethan said. “It was the first time I went out of state with my brother, and we saw really good [dancers]. It was fun going on a trip with just him.”

According to Justin, Ethan is considered one of the best highschoolers in all of Texas for breakdancing.

“When I dance with Ethan, we constantly motivate each other,” Justin said. “Training the same moves and ‘one-upping’ each other every round really spurts our growth.”

Ethan said his parents have been major supporters of both him and his brother, letting him stay out late some nights to practice at University of Houston-Downtown.

“I practice an average of two hours a day and will rest on the weekends,” Ethan said. “When I’m not dancing, I’m playing percussion in the band, but most of my time goes toward dancing.”

Ethan met junior Max Maisonneuve in middle school. Maisonneuve soon realized that Ethan was very involved in breakdancing.

“[He] is really good at dancing,” Maisonneuve said. “He has tried teaching me how to dance. When I went to his house once, he was doing this trick, and it was just a really fun bonding experience.”

According to Ethan, he and his brother have been dacnging together since the very beginning.

“I have fallen in love with breakdancing,” Ethan said. “Whenever I dance with other people, a connection with them is formed. It’s like having a conversation but through dance and being able to speak through my style.”