The pavement is his canvas and the feet that glide across it with grace is his brush. The beat of the music is his paint and with each stroke he takes it brings vibrant color. He is the artist who breathes life into his artwork with each step he takes; carefully and skillfully he creates his masterpiece. This is his art, his small and profound contribution to society with the sole purpose to make you smile.
The pavement is his canvas and the feet that glide across it with grace is his brush. The beat of the music is his paint and with each stroke he takes it brings vibrant color. He is the artist who breathes life into his artwork with each step he takes; carefully and skillfully he creates his masterpiece. This is his art, his small and profound contribution to society with the sole purpose to make you smile.Adam Vaughn is not your typical psychology student.
“I do this because I have had people come forward and tell me ‘thank you, this helps me get through the school week,’” Vaughn said. “And that makes my day. The idea of being able to spread joy.”
With the hope of bringing at least one smile to a student’s face, Adam teaches free swing dance lessons in the quad for anyone who is willing to learn. His girlfriend and student Kylene Palestino describes his love of dance and why he teaches others.
“His main thing is to make other people happy when he dances. It’s like his public service or something like that,” Palestino said. “It’s what he loves to do, he loves dancing and the joy it brings people.”
Rita Oishi, a friend and dance student of Adam’s, stated that dancing in the Quad is going to bring some sort of attention and it often varies but for the most part it tends to be positive.
“Adam’s dancing is infectious,” Oishi said. “A guy dancing in the quad is always going to illicit some sort of a response but generally it’s people asking if they can learn.”
Students, Kevin Juarez and Derek Gaona describe Adam and his crew’s dancing as something worth watching and admire his ability to step out and doing something different in the quad.
“It’s cool they don’t care, they’re just dancing and having fun,” Juarez said. “I wish I would just do that without being afraid.”
“It’s a positive thing for students to get a break,” said Jennifer Hopper who barely met Adam and started dancing with him. “To just watch or even be a part of it.”
For every positive reaction Adam receives there will always be some sort of negative reaction from students as some shake their head with disapproval or point and laugh. Regardless of people’s reactions Vaughn won’t relent from doing what he loves.
“Sometimes we get people who kind of make fun and it bugs the hell out of me,” Palestino said. “But it doesn’t bug him, it’s what he loves to do, dance and bring people joy.”
Adam would argue that dance is just the tool for the sole purpose of what he really is about, which is bringing joy to people. It’s easy to see that he is not about the attention but more for the people.
“There’s no reason I should have to push you down, I would much rather lift you up,” Vaughn said. “I would much rather help someone and lighten their burden even if it’s for a few minutes. That smile is all I need.”
Vaughn teaches beginning and intermediate swing dancing courses at LaMa Swing located at La Mirada United Methodist Church. In line with his passion to help people Vaughn created a charity fundraiser event that raised over $1000 to help support a pair of sisters in the swing dance community who were diagnosed with lime disease.
“I like to help people it’s what drives me, and the greatest way to do that is to bring them joy and have fun,” Vaughn said. “It’s to take them out of the routine, the dreary and depressing or whatever it may be and give them something exciting and that they can enjoy.”
Adam is currently seeking an adviser to oversee a swing dance club that he would like to start in order to do effective fundraisers on campus. If you are interested in being an adviser or learning free swing dance lessons Adam can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook page: Swingin’ The Quad! (Swing Dancing at Fullerton College).
The swing dancers meets once a week by the Cadena Transfer Center, on either Wednesday or Thursday starting at 1:30 p.m.