While in elementary school, Darío felt like an outsider. He longed for a community that would give him a sense of comfort and belonging. Luckily, he found his sense of community in the fourth grade when he joined LA’s BEST. More specifically, he found his community in the Dance & Drill Team.
During the two years that Darío was on the Drill Team, he participated in three competitions and discovered his love for dancing, performing, and being on a team. When I asked what Drill Team meant to him, Darío emphasized “I felt at peace. I felt calm. I felt like I had a purpose”. Darío developed many important characteristics while he was on the team: charisma, coordination, flexibility, and the ability to keep going even if he made a mistake.
One year after joining the Drill Team, Darío earned the role of co-captain and then won a year-long scholarship for dance at the prestigious Millennium Dance Studio in North Hollywood. This opportunity, according to Darío, was due to the skills, support, and leadership he gained from being in the Drill Team with LA’s BEST. “I felt empowered knowing my hard work paid off. Being exposed to dance at a young age helped me find that passion for dance.”
Although it was difficult at times, he knew that he was capable of succeeding because his coach, Ms. Ruiz, encouraged him endlessly. Ms. Ruiz became a role model and leadership figure for Darío. She taught him valuable skills and a work ethic that continue to shape the way he lives and carries himself. “While back then I was pushing myself to deal with the pain of learning how to do the splits, today I push myself to continue my studies regardless of the countless obstacles that have crossed my path.”
Now that he is in college, Darío continues to cultivate his passion for dance as a member of one of his college’s dance groups. Ultimately, being a part of the LA’s BEST Dance & Drill Team instilled in him a passion for dance and a dedication to advancing himself through learning and education.