Dillon “DLite” Thomas

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Dance event showed teens' positive side;

Oct 19, 2011; pg. B.1;
Press & Sun-Bulletin LETTER PUBLISHED IN OP ED BY: Tom Garruto

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Dance event showed teens' positive side
Press & Sun-Bulletin; Oct 19, 2011; pg. B.1

A fight broke out in the City of Binghamton Saturday night, not a fight of the fist but a fight of the feet. Lite Feet, as its known, is the latest popular street dance to sweep across the country. Like Break Dancing before it, the battles play out on street corners and in church basements, where ever they can find the room to "Get Lite" and battle each other for the honor of being the winner in a dance off. Lite Feet, has swept the big cities across the country from Seattle to NYC, and now has migrated to smaller towns across America. In our town, of Binghamton, NY, two young teens Dilllon Thomas and Tristin Rodriguez, (respectively known by their dance names, D Lite and T Rex) spend their weekends traveling to NYC, sometimes leaving at 5 AM for the hours long bus ride, just get the chance to bring it and "Get Lite" in NYC. The kids group together in Teams,and the Transformers and Team Demon, are the offshoots of NYC Teams who invited the Binghamton kids, to join the NYC teams and form the Upstate Team representing the teams in the city. But now, D Lite and T Rex have started their own team, and along with some other Upstate dancers, they now are fully representing our community, Team Titans.
This last weekend, Oct 15, Team Titan's hosted a Fight Night dance competition and our local Post 80, where over one hundred teens from as far away as Syracuse came together to compete in this modern day version of break dancing. Through the support and cheers of approval from peers and even a few parents, our community got a front line view of what this new form of dance is all about. The young audience was delighted as demonstrated by the onlookers participation with clapping, cheers and whoops, not only the dancers, but the whole crowd participates in the event. Part of the Allure for the dancers and onlookers is the YouTube Posting of these Lite Feet Dance offs. And since No trophies or ribbons are awarded to the best dancer or team, only vocal approval and respect from their peers is the prize. There is a panel of peer judges who based on crowd reaction and the tricks performed, give the dancers the Winning Title and all the "cred" that goes with that ..
While this local team, Team Titan's, has also performed at other community events, including the Murray Street Mural Project and the July Fest, this Fight Night event, was the most exciting, because for the couple of hours the kids of our town were enjoying the competition, there were no Fights, No police being called, No drinking or drugs, it was simply what it was, good fun with the bonus of a You Tube Cameo for all you participated. What community organizations and cities have been trying to do with the effort to provide good clean alternatives to the negative influences enticing our kids, these boys managed to do on their own and with the support of the community that matters most to them, their own peers.
Too often we read about or see the signs of not always positive teen activity in our city, but for this one night, a community of teens came together to express themselves creatively through the form of dance, not violence. I am hopeful this continues to catch on, and more events can be planned, and as a community we can support our kids to do what they do best, have fun.