The Kinsmen is a dance crew and Recognized Student Organization (RSO) at MNSU that introduces urban dance to the community while also offering experiences to people to learn and grow as dancers.
What started as a desire to dance, Dyno Thao and Jer Yang, leaders of the Kinsmen and former members of a Minnesota based dance crew, FAMRAZ, wanted to bring urban dance to Mankato and continue their passion for dance as their former dance crew relocated to the cities.
They saw the opportunity for a dance crew at MNSU and wanted to take advantage of the free studios on campus. The Kinsmen soon became an RSO in January 2018 with big dreams of auditioning for the World of Dance Chicago.
Since then, the Kinsmen has performed an array of events and have competed and won many dance competitions.
Just last year, the Kinsmen won the Multicultural Dance Competition with the Kinjaz as judges, performed at the Black Student Union’s Ebony Ball, were finalists at the Minnesota State Fair Talent Contest, and performed powerful performances such as pieces about Hmong refugees.
As well as performing and competing, the Kinsmen also do community outreaches by providing workshops for all students to have fun and learn choreography while also gaining more confidence in their dancing.
One of the past workshop series they have done is the K-pop Kamp, to further accomplish their goal of bridging communities by reaching out to the K-pop community and brought in over a hundred students over the course of the workshops.
This year they continue with their goals of bringing together communities as they offer bi-weekly urban outreach workshops led by a special guest choreographer to introduce urban dance to students with all ranges of dance experience.
President of the Kinsmen, Dyno Thao, welcomes all students to join their workshops, “For people who don’t know about the kinsmen, I don’t want them to be afraid to come out and dance. It’s scary in general to come and try out dancing, but I just want the Kinsmen to be known for being easy going, and just known for growing that confidence in people. I just want people to know that it is ok to be confident and to come and learn how to be confident.”
No dance experience is required, and although it may seem fast paced, they go through the dance moves slowly at first, make sure all students are comfortable, and create a welcoming environment. As Dyno says, “We lit.”
The next workshop for the Kinsmen is on Nov. 2 with their last workshop on Nov. 30. They also hold bi-weekly practices to improve certain techniques, with their next practice on Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Feature photo by Maria Ly | MSU Reporter.