Dancing to ‘never be something I’m not’

Ashley Beagley | PNN contributor

He remembers the first time he danced. It was outdoors on a beautiful, cloudless day.

He put his earbuds in and he danced for seven hours. Before long, it became his routine, a way to de-stress; a pleasant way to work out.

And he soon realized how his dancing makes his fellow students smile.

Jordan Scurlock is a senior studying fine arts at East Carolina University. He recalls an average childhood, with a very open-minded family.

“My parents said I should never be something I’m not,” Scurlock said. He said his experience in his high school theater program also helped him find the freedom to be himself.

Now he spends time between classes at ECU swaying outdoors to the rhythm of every style of music, from 1920s jazz to early 2000s hip-hop.

Between the beats and sways, he speaks with students who approach him. Dancing is a doorway to new friends.

Most of the conversations are about self-expression. Many students will praise him for his freedom of self.

Some aren’t as nice. They shout discouraging words, but he tunes them out. To Scurlock, the people who support him outweigh those who don’t understand him.

Despite how often he showcased his moves, he still gets nervous before a College Hill dance session. Still, on warm days, he can be found on the grassy patch in front of the Scott Hall dorm, swaying to music. Dancing to the beat of his own drum.

Scurlock graduates in May. He hopes someone will carry on his legacy of dance and self-expression.

Beagley produced this story for her fall 2017 Media Writing & Reporting class.