Misawa Airman finds serenity through dance, builds a community

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kenny Brown, a 35th Security Forces Squadron police service administrator, dances at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 19, 2019. Brown teaches hip-hop and lyrical dance classes every Sunday morning. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kenny Brown, a 35th Security Forces Squadron police service administrator, dances at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 19, 2019. Brown teaches hip-hop and lyrical dance classes every Sunday morning. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

Misawa Airman finds serenity through dance, builds a community

by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- People give back to the Air Force community in their own way. Airman 1st Class Kenny Brown, a 35th Security Forces Squadron police service administrator, gives back by providing dance classes at the Potter Fitness Center every Sunday for all of Team Misawa.

Many people have a passion for something, but not all have the right motivation to follow it. Brown not only pursued his dreams, but also created an active group improving morale for fellow community members here.

Brown started dancing 10 years ago in high school and has aired on two popular dance shows since then including: “So You Think You Can Dance” and “World of Dance.”

"I moved here in November 2017 and was roaming the base gym when I noticed they had a room set up perfectly for dance," Brown recalled. "The room was huge, had stereo equipment and mirrors! This is a dancer’s heaven. I don’t have to go off base, practice in someone’s basement or go through the thick and thin just to get a dance studio.”

He created the Misawa’s Hip Hop Dance Group because it allowed him to make an impact on people’s lives for the better by bringing people closer together, improving morale and boosting self-confidence.

“Misawa has a lot to offer,” expressed Brown. “It’s hard to be in a different continent than your loved ones. It’s not easy dealing with the time differences and not being able to see your family through the hard times.”

Brown shared how dance helped him overcome the struggles of serving as a single Airman at Misawa.

“Some personal affairs came up and had it not been for my love of dance, I wouldn’t be the same Kenny Brown,” he continued. “Dance helps me a lot mentally. Whenever my head is too far in the clouds it can always bring me back.”

He sat in awe of just how much dance helped him overcome everything life had thrown at him and hoped it can do the same for his students.

“I care about people and doing my part,” Brown stated. “I do this not only to change my life, but to change others in a positive way. Dance is such a huge stress reliever.”

He thought back to his time spent as a student at a dance studio in San Antonio. He remembered always itching to one day teach choreography on his own.

It took moving to another country, but he finally followed his dream and became a choreographer.

He now teaches hip-hop and lyrical dance classes every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and is willing to learn any new form of dance from his students.

“When I first joined Kenny’s dance team I was awful, but instead of giving up on me he broke the choreography down in a way I could understand,” expressed Senior Airman Heaven Lorenzo, a 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance customer service technician. “Even though I wasn’t a dancer, I still enjoyed going to the classes, learning new ways to express myself.”

According to Brown, his dance class is open to everyone—regardless of skill.

“I don’t care if you don’t think you can dance,” said Brown. “I will work with you; all I ask of you is to try.”

Brown’s ability to stay patient while instructing effects more lives than just his own.

“Eventually the dance classes made me gain confidence in my dancing and in myself,” continued Lorenzo. “Being a part of this journey truly changed my demeanor and I will always be thankful for meeting Kenny, it was one of the best things that has happened to me in Misawa.”

Misawa’s Hip Hop Dance Group has made an impact on more lives than Brown could have ever hoped.

“I always tell people, ‘If you mess up, but you feel the music, just let God take you’,” said Brown. “When you step inside it’s a no judgement zone. I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, transgender, woman, man, yellow, blue or green. As soon as you come into my class, it’s all love.”

No matter what Brown decides to do in the future, one thing is clear: he is a dancer.

“Dance may seem like a simple form of entertainment, but it’s who I am,” said Brown. “If I learned anything, it’s that the sky is the limit. No matter what life throws at you, be mindful of what you’re doing in response to the curveballs.”

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Recommended Content