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Hinojosa dances for ONU

Above, Jacob Hinojosa dances with his teammates at the half time show during the men's basketball game against Heidelberg. Hinojosa is the first male dancer on the Northern Stars. (photo/ Jose Nogueras)

Jacob Hinojosa, a junior nursing major, has defied stereotypes and tradition by becoming the first male member of Ohio Northern University’s dance team, The Northern Stars, and he has enjoyed every minute of it.

Hinojosa hopes that his involvement with the dance team will set a precedent for future male dancers to try out and develop a more diverse group.

“I think that I definitely serve as an example and encouragement to other guys who may have interest because now they know they can audition and join (the team) and know that they are not the only ones who want to dance,” he said. “It’s always hard stepping out of a comfort zone and putting yourself out there.”

Although Jacob has never had any formal dance training, he has proven to the dance team that his passion and drive enough to more than make up for it.

“I had always loved dance when I was in high school, but never was given the opportunity to actually take any classes,” he said. “I ended up just supporting the dance team of my sister high school because I went to an all boys school, and we did not have anything for dance.”

According to Hinojosa, the transition to a mixed gender dance team this year at the University has gone well. He has not encountered any opposition from other team members or students.

He believes that other guys don’t join the dance team for two reasons. First, it is usually hard for men to do something out of the social norm. In this case that means dancing on a team that is normally made of all girls. His second reason is because most men are not aware that they are able to audition and join the dance team.

Hinojosa’s most difficult hurdles to overcome as part of the team have been getting coaches and other members out of the habit of referring to the team as “the girls,” adjusting some dance moves to be more masculine, and, of course, creating an entirely new uniform for himself that would mesh with the women’s uniform.

At the end of the day, Hinojosa makes light work of breaking down gender barriers by simply having fun.

“I have really loved the experience of learning different dances and being able to choreograph for the group,” he said. “Dance team is definitely a lot of work and commitment, but it also is really fun to be able to do what I love with others who love dancing too.”

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