In 2016, Nimoy Vaidya and Phillip Chan took first place in Kick-Off for a b-boying routine — an art form similar to breakdancing — that took about a month to prepare while practicing about eight hours per week.
In September, Vaidya reclaimed his title as king of Kick-Off, becoming the only student to ever win Kick-Off twice.
This time, however, Vaidya led a group of b-boys known as Barnett’s Boys, a group named after Skip Barnett, longtime GC professor and international student advisor. Joining Vaidya were students Hajin Kim, Josiah Phiri, Levi Glick, Natan Nafziger, Ian Keim and Andrew Nussbaum. The eight members spent over 30 hours practicing the choreography Vaidya designed.
But Vaidya almost quit dancing before he started. While his dance moves are contagious and can get a crowd going, his dancing career is a lot shorter than some people realize.
Vaidya was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, and when he reached the ninth grade, his class performed a farewell show for the tenth graders. Vaidya decided to take part, though he had never performed before.
“I can’t sing, I can’t act and I definitely cannot dance,” he said he thought when signing up to perform.
Vaidya teamed up with two guys and three girls who had danced before, but when they started practicing, the three girls quit because they thought that they weren’t good enough. Nimoy originally wanted to drop out too, but his leader urged him to keep working. Vaidya continued to study dance moves and found a video that taught b-boying. He quickly got intrigued by the movement of the b-boys and how they used the floor.
In the end, Vaidya’s group get a lot of praise for their performance.
“One teacher even gave the entire class extra credit!” he said
After his 9th grade performance, Vaidya continued dancing as a hobby, practicing once per week, while beginning to look at colleges.
In 2015, an earthquake occurred in Kathmandu, causing damage to the city and Vaidya’s home.
He sent Goshen college a picture of his house, which had sustained significant structural damage, and he explained why it would now be difficult for him to attend. He asked GC if there was anything they could do for him.
Russ Liechty, a retired GC professor, told Vaidya that the college only had enough money to help out two kids from Nepal. Luckily, Vaidya was one of them, thanks to aid from College Mennonite Church.
Four years later, Vaidya was determined to make his final Kick-Off performance his best one.
While Vaidya was thinking of a theme for the dance, Hajin Kim, a senior, brought up the idea of soccer, which immediately intrigued Vaidya. As he was creating the choreography, Vaidya decided he wanted to do something to make the audience laugh.
Vaidya ultimately spent 20 hours coming up with the choreography for the performance, which included a dance move that involves placing a hat on his foot while balancing on one leg, bending backwards to go into a handstand and, while on one arm, reaching up and catching the hat, a move he attempted, but was unable to do, in his sophomore year.
“I think one of the proudest moments of my life was that this was my last time in a competitive manner on that stage and I caught my hat,” Vaidya said.
Although his Kick-Off performances are over, Vaidya will always look back on them fondly.
“Whatever I’m showing you right now, on this stage, is something that I have a passion for,” he said. “it’s something that I love; it’s something that I have evolved into and has helped me evolve.”