Diamond Bar Alumni Dances to Hip-Hop Fame


Courtesy of Gerald Nonato

Hanna Kang, Opinion Editor

A majority of students going to college expect to remain on the sidelines and come out with nothing much more than a degree. However, Diamond Bar High School class of 2013 alumnus Franklin Yu chose to remain in the spotlight he has been in since high school.

Yu, now a sophomore at the UCLA, was featured in a recent video uploaded to YouTube that has been making its rounds on social media. The short clip opens to loud cheers from the audience in response to a large group of dancers on stage, ACA Hip Hop, a competitive dance team affiliated with the UCLA Association of Chinese Americans. The video, a front row coverage of ACA’s routine, went viral due to the sharp and impeccable synchronization of the team. It now has more than 613,000 views on YouTube.

As one of the coordinators of ACA Hip Hop, Yu supervises all logistic and artistic functions of the team. In order to strengthen its presence in the dance community, Yu stated that the team practices frequently, sometimes at odd hours, while balancing extracurriculars, jobs and the rigorous academics of UCLA.

“The team rehearses together on Mondays and Wednesdays in a standard week. But before competitions, we sometimes go up to six days a week, and practice can go from 7 to 8 p.m. to 2 to 5 a.m.”

For the routine ACA showcased during the 2014 The Bridge Competition presented by Team Millennia, an Orange County-based collegiate hip-hop dance team, Yu played a big role as one of the main choreographers working on the set. The team’s hard work did not go unrecognized, as ACA Hip Hop came out on top with first place in the competition.

“As far as what the dance is about, we didn’t really analyze our choreography so deeply. We just wanted to bring something unique and entertaining to the community,” Yu stated.

Dubbed “the Avenger” during his high school years as a member of the All-Male Dance Crew, Yu served as captain of the crew his senior year. He was also a valuable member of the DBHS Freestylerz, a group of hip hop enthusiasts led by French teacher Anthony Tietz.

Outside of school and All-Male, Yu also danced with prominent dance teams Miniotics and Gravy Babies.
Now as a student dancing for a UCLA-based team, Yu is once again in the spotlight as a leader. He is living by the quote posted on ACA’s webpage, “Love dance for dance itself and never stop.”