Josiah Ochoa practiced his dance moves at Waves of Illusion in Hollister.

Hollister dancer competes in Las Vegas
What started as an interest in dance movies such as

Stomp the Yard


Step Up,

has turned into something more for 10-year-old Josiah Ochoa.
Hollister dancer competes in Las Vegas

What started as an interest in dance movies such as “Stomp the Yard” and “Step Up,” has turned into something more for 10-year-old Josiah Ochoa.

The sixth-grader wasn’t satisfied just watching movies about kids dancing so he got his parents to enroll him in dance classes.

That was six months ago.

Now, with the help of his instructor, Isabel Torres, of Waves of Illusions dance studio, and some fresh moves of his own, the youngster recently took second place in the International Presentation of Performers talent competition in Las Vegas.

“When I joined Waves of Illusion, I encountered Latizmo dancing,” Ochoa said. “It’s a combination of 80s dance, crunk and hip-hop.”

His father, Manuel, explained that Ochoa auditioned and was accepted to the John Robert Powers acting and modeling school last November.

Ochoa waited four months and then started looking around at dance studios in Hollister. He chose Torres’ studio because of the family-like atmosphere and the dedication to teaching Torres has for her students.

“I think it’s because I came here that I took second in Las Vegas,” Ochoa said. “Nobody else there even knew about Latizmo.”

For most kids getting up in front of 2,000 strangers can be intimidating to say the least, but Ochoa said he felt like the experience helped break him out of his shell.

“They auditioned 300 dancers and from there they chose 11 to compete in front of the judges” Manuel said. “Josiah was one of the 11.”

The judges were choreographers for famous dancers including Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Wayne Brady.

“A lot of people came up to me afterwards and told me that I should have won,” Ochoa said. “Even the kid I was competing against was surprised that I didn’t win.

The 11 finalists were taught a new dance routine they were required to perform later the same day.

Ochoa had no problems learning the new routine due to the hard work and training he had received at Waves of Illusion, his father said.

Students at Waves of Illusion learn discipline and accountability, according to Ochoa. Those are two things, she said, kids today need in order to be successful.

“Otherwise they don’t make it,” Torres said. “Kids need to learn these things early or they will lack them through life. I’m teaching these kids life skills, leadership skills. I’m learning and growing from these kids as well. It was an honor to have Jojo represent Latizmo at IPOP.”

Talent can only take you so far though, Manuel said. As a pastor, he has a lot of faith and has instilled this faith in his son.

“We always knew [Josiah] had the ability, but we wanted someone who could awaken his talents,” Manuel said. “When he got to Vegas, we knew he would place.”

“I got where I did because of my parents, because of God and because of my faith,” Ochoa said.

Last weekend Ochoa and his father attended a meeting with a talent agent in Los Angeles who saw his performance in Las Vegas and thinks she might have some work for him.

While he’s waiting to break into Hollywood, Ochoa will continue to dance at Waves of Illusion and will participate when the group performs at the Hollister Street Festival.

Torres has also started teaching classes in Aromas, at the Grange Hall.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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