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When Lyrical Dance Meets Hip Hop

Lauren Luiskutty and Ashlyn Heritage, dancers and good friends, have distinctly different performance styles.

Lauren Luiskutty and Ashlyn Heritage, dancers and good friends, have distinctly different performance styles.

Abby Sanford, Reporter

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Bixby High School sophomores Ashlyn Heritage and Lauren Luiskutty both juggle social lives, family time and school, while sharing a common interest and desire for a career in dance. While these best friends both dance, they contrast in style. Ashlyn performs lyrical and temporary dance, while Lauren pursues hip-hop.

In 2013, Luiskutty began dancing and joined Production TK-OH, based in Tulsa and founded by Emmanuel “Cross” Hurd. TK-OH stands for “The Kingdom of Heaven.” Even though she has always had a natural talent for hip-hop, Luiskutty describes the team as family and says she “couldn’t imagine life without them.”

Luiskutty has traveled all over the country to places like Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Las Vegas, Houston and Dallas. She has also met many of her hip-hop idols, like Fik-Shun, Jaja Vankova, Madd Chadd, Baby Boogaloo, Ivan ‘Flipz’ Velez and Twitch, who appears regularly on the television show Ellen.

But all these extravagant, life-changing experiences don’t come freely. Luiskutty puts in hard work and dedication to earn her spot. She attends practices every night at 9 and they end between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In what seems like another world, Heritage works for the lifelong memories just as hard, but the difference is the style of dance. Lyrical dance is Heritage’s passion.

Heritage goes to dance practice for the Bixby High School dance team everyday at 6 a.m. After that she goes to school, then straight after school she goes to dance at Theatre Arts, a company levels in the disciplines of singing, dancing and acting, and she performs there until late at night. This routine has continued week after week, year after year, since she was 4 years old.

Despite her hectic schedule, Heritage puts in dedication to spend part of her summer in New York, and dances day in and day out every day she’s there. Her experience in New York happens due to the New York City Dance Alliance, accepts 100 people from all over the country between the ages of 14-19, and Heritage continues to earn her spot there year after year.

She also competes in competitions all over the country, including the Oklahoma state dance title; this year, she took third place for her solo performance.

Despite Luiskutty’s and Heritage’s different styles and schedules, the two are close in real life. Occasionally on the side, they even collaborate their different dancing techniques into one lyrical and hip-hop mixed dance.

Their dancing is symbolic, because it shows how even if you have two different styles, you can embrace it together instead of maintaining the same style apart

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