Student Spotlight: Brandon Leong

Not everyone can juggle a Theatre Arts and Dance major, an Early Childhood Studies minor and dancing in two shows put on at Sonoma State University. But second year Brandon Leong has been doing that for two semesters. Performing in both the Spring Dance show and on Pacific Cultural Night, Leong’s love for dance is what keeps him going every day. 

“Dancing in two shows is honestly quite difficult but worth the effort,”  Leong said.

Leong began his passion for dance in the seventh grade after participating in his school musical “13”.  After the musical, Brandon began taking dance classes at a studio where the choreographer of the musical taught at. Leong hopes to become a teacher and start his own dance program at his old high school in San Mateo.

COURTESY // Brandon Leong

COURTESY // Brandon Leong

“When thinking of my career path, I want to teach no matter what.  If it’s adults, teens, or children, I just want my admiration for dance to be spread to all that are willing to accept the art form.” Leong said.

Every week, Leong juggles 20 plus hours of dance rehearsals for two different shows.  Currently, Brandon is working on the Spring Dance performance and is practicing for the Pacific Cultural Night, which is put on by the Filipino American Association at Sonoma State (FAASSU).

The Spring Dance is put on by the Dance department, which allows the students to focus on their performance as dancers while Pacific Cultural Night is a completely student-run dance show. When Leong isn’t at Spring Dance rehearsals or class, he is putting together a whole dance show with his peers.  

“I’ve been able to see Brandon bring elements from both FAASSU’s Pacific Cultural Night and from the theater department to create art he thought he could never do.” said second year Ashley De La Cruz, the vice president of FASSU. “They’ve expanded his knowledge of dance and I’m grateful to watch him experience both these opportunities.”

Leong is not only a student dancer for the theatre arts and dance department and FAASSU, but he is a choreographer, a costume designer, a show coordinator, and much more.  Brandon is constantly doing something dance-related and making the most of his time.  

“Both processes are so different because both of my professors and choreographers push me to do my best in spring dance, while Pacific Cultural Night is self-driven for me because I have the opportunity to choreograph and costume my own dancers, as well as perform traditional Filipino folk dances for our families.” 

You can often catch Brandon on campus either at dance rehearsal, attending various administrative meetings to ensure Pacific Cultural Night happens, and hand making intricate traditional Filipino folk costumes. 

Brandon’s favorite dance memories at Sonoma State have been choreographing his own dance piece in fall of 2018 and the numerous friendships he has created through the dance department and FAASSU.

You can see Leong perform in the Spring Dance shows every day this week until Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Evert B. Person Theater, or see him and his fellow FAASSU members dance on Pacific Cultural Night on Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Person Theater.