Portola Pilot

Mr. KAR and Kingsmen Captain: Eric Hao

Video Courtesy of Eric Hao. Featuring sections of Hao’s team performances from April from various competitions, this video shows Hao’s strong body movement with his intense facial performance.

Julia Kim and Jenny Zhang

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Filling the stage with sharp, accentuated movements to the rhythm of hard jazz music, freshman Eric Hao is undoubtedly a powerful dancer and performer.

Hao has consistently made a presence in the community with his passion in performing arts, currently enrolled in dance, drama and choir. In addition to his active participation in performing arts, Hao leads his professional hip-hop dance team, Kingsmen, outside of school. Dancers in this team meet multiple times a week to practice a variety of dances, ranging from large groups to small groups, to be performed at competitions or on stage for the community. 

“In third grade, I basically was considered to be fat, so I was like oh okay, maybe I’ll cut down on the weight,” Hao said. So, I went straight for dancing. I was dancing for fun, but then in sixth grade, I was invited to do a dance team, and then I began to do hip hop professionally.”

Dancing professionally requires not only skill but also dedication and time. Hao’s professional hip hop team requires a minimum of twelve hours of practice per week, not including at least one or two competitions every month.

Although challenging to keep up with such time-packed schedules, Hao recognizes that without such devotion, it is impossible to be successful in the industry.

“In my dance team, I am the leader, so I have to take care and train the people,” Hao said.  “Our team goes to all hip-hop competitions, which are very competitive. A lot of people come prepared, and there’s no such thing as a participation award. There’s only first, second and third, and if you don’t place, you don’t get recognized.”

He has received numerous awards for his solo and team performances at prestigious dance competitions including first place for his hip hop solo in and fourth overall at the KAR National Dance Competition in 2016, in addition to being crowned Mr. KAR, a title given to only one male dancer for the entire competition.

His expressive facial performance and precise dance movements have helped him stand out Hao has also been widely recognized for his ability to improvise, a skill difficult to master because it requires the dancer to be able to choreograph as the song is playing, all with no preparation.

“Eric is one of the most talented performers I know,” freshman Raksha Rajeshmohan said. “He engages the audience and has killer stage presence. He really gets into whatever he’s doing and he incorporates facial expressions and big movements to stand out and make the performance fun to watch.”

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Mr. KAR and Kingsmen Captain: Eric Hao