Spotlight: One student out of 36,000
Deon Goggins’ interest in dance began as he watched his little sister during her dance class. What was then a passing interest of a 16-year-old can now only be described as a passion he hopes to pursue for the rest of his life.
As he watched his sister in dance class for eight hours every Saturday, his interest in dance grew, but he was always discouraged to pursue it because his mother believed that “boys didn’t dance” and dancing for men was feminine.
It was during a performance by Kenny Long, a choreographer who taught at Goggins’ old high school and his “true inspiration,” that he knew he loved dance and wanted to pursue it.
“The movement, the stories he told, was something I’ve never seen or experienced before. Each person seemed to really enjoy dancing and what they were doing,” he said.
As he sat in the audience, Goggins said he noticed something else.
“I saw men; manly masculine men. They were doing leaps and splits and everything but they looked strong doing it,” he said.
Now the 20-year-old senior English major with a minor in dance said that dance has given him more focus and drive.
“I’ve found that I am scatterbrained in everything else, but when I dance I am a different person because that is the only thing I focus on then,” he said.
The dancer’s mentality has also helped him to lose weight and stay fit and he said that he knows if he wants to be successful he cannot weigh the 290 pounds he weighed in high school.
One area of his life that dancing did not help was his relationship with his mother. He described their relationship then as “rocky and tumultuous,” but he said he now understands why she was so “close-minded.”
“She was trying to process the different changes she was seeing in me. Now we understand each other more, or rather I understand her more than she would ever understanding me,” Goggins said.
He said that his mother equated dancing to homosexuality and thought he would become gay because of it.
Ironically, his mother was right. While dancing did not “turn him gay,” Goggins admits that it was through dancing that he discovered homosexuality and the lifestyle.
“I met so many gay men when I started dancing. It was a confusing time. Both my mother and I are very Christian and at first I wasn’t sure if it was right or wrong.”
He said he struggled with the idea of his homosexuality and it wasn’t until his freshman year in college that he came out.
“I knew I was gay when I transferred my fantasy of a husband and wife nuclear family to a fantasy of a nuclear family with two men. I am still the same person my mother raised me to be,” Goggins said.
“A good Christian gentleman who just happens to want to raise a family with another man.”
And it is that fantasy, his dreams and aspirations that continue to drive and energize him.
“Everyone who knows me knows I [am] all over the place, doing a million things, and my future is like that, everywhere,” Goggins said.
But this he knows for sure: He wants to dance for the rest of his life, choreograph and teach dance so he can give back all that his mentors, like Kenny Long, have given him.
Additionally he wants to teach English, his other passion, which he said arises from the look in a child’s face when he reads Shakespeare and comprehends it for the first time.
“This is how I envision my life. I would teach high school English during the day, teach dance in the afternoon, and learn more dance in the night,” Goggins said.