Vietnam to America: A long way from home

Student Louie Le enjoys dancing and cooking as she adjusts to life in America.

Jared Leingang, Reporter

Upstairs in Health Education Center in Room 206, there’s a revolution in the works. A dance revolution, that is.

Student Louie Le instructs a room of about 15 people on the moves of hip-hop dancing.

First, as part of her creative process, she has her students rehearse without music to get the movements memorized and then practice with the music to get the rhythm and routine perfect.

As some hopeful learners struggle, Le takes time to further mentor them during breaks with quick one-on-one sessions. She makes the atmosphere fun, easygoing and engaging.

When music is played, everyone dances, and although many people struggle, everyone is smiling and having fun. That’s the goal for Le and her Choreography Club.

After performing at the recent Clubs Fest, the popularity of the club increased and Le was surprised by how many people were interested in dancing and the club.

Le’s in her second quarter at Pierce College. She’s a international student from Vietnam and the distance from her home in Vietnam to Washington is 7,218 miles.

She left her life, her family, friends and sense of normalcy back home to come study at Pierce, but she brought one thing from home: her passion to dance.

“I love dancing,” Le said. “I’ve been dancing since I was in secondary school. I feel and know how dancing can connect people. My two best friends were connected to me through dancing, and I wanted to bring that to Pierce College.”

Le has been dancing since she was a child. She loved dancing to some of Britney Spears’ music when she was growing up.

In Vietnam, dancing is more focused on the technique. But in the U.S., people dance to the flow of the music and have no set technique. Le likes that concept better because people can dance the way they want to without being confined to the technique.

Her first quarter at Pierce was fall quarter and she tried to join the Swing Dance Club, but it wasn’t her cup of tea. She wasn’t used to the ballroom style of dancing, so she decided to start her own club, Le said.

“I see people who just dance for fun, and don’t follow any specific type of dance, so I got the idea to open a club for people to just come and have fun,” Le said.

Dancing is a way to bring people together and create lasting friendships, and although the Choreography Club is new, friendships are already being formed between the members.

With living in a new country and away from her family, Le uses dance as a stress reliever, but she also turns to another passion of hers to feel at home: cooking.

“I feel back at home when I cook Vietnamese food,” Le said.

She said she cooks a lot with her friends and it brings her back to Vietnam and eating the food back with her family at home.

For now, Le is studying at Pierce with the hopes of getting a career in the medical field, but is unsure on the exact career.

One day Le said she’d like to open her own dance studio and make her passion for dancing more than just a hobby. She envisions it being a small studio that’s open to everyone and where she can spread her love of the art to others.

Lee said she also wants to travel and experience the U.S.

“I want to go to California or somewhere nice,” Le said. “It’s too cold and gloomy here and it makes the people that way as well.”

Le said when she came to the U.S. she felt empty because she came here by herself and lives with her friends. Dancing has helped her adjust to her new life and she’s excited to see what comes next.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Jared Leingang

Vietnam to America: A long way from home

by Jared Leingang time to read: 3 min