VIDEO: Young dancer wows crowd after Oakland’s First Friday celebration

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If you were outside the Fox Theatre of Oakland after this month’s First Friday event on June 7, you may have spotted a tiny dancer with a lot of skills. 

In the video that has now gone viral, eight-year-old Roman Kuchmenko-Caviness is placed on the hood of a car and shows off his skills to “Not Like Us,” a recent hit from Kendrick Lamar.  It’s a truly Oakland sight—the Fox Theater marquee can even be seen in the background. 

Roman has been attending Oakland’s First Fridays since he was just a baby. 

“It was six days before his first birthday,” Roman’s dad, Maurice Caviness, told KTVU of the first time he brought him out to the celebrations. Caviness says Roman and the drummer have had a deep connection since that day. 

“He didn’t let anyone hold him at that time. I think the drummer was the first or second stranger he ever allowed to hold him,” Caviness said. 

When Roman was about five years old, his dad bought him a Spider-Man mask at First Fridays. There were roller skaters boogeying nearby, and Roman started dancing on the sidelines. Roman’s dad handed him the Spider-Man mask and told him it would keep his identity secret. 

“He put it on and danced for two hours straight,” Caviness said. Towards the end of the night, Roman was brave enough to pull off the mask and dance with his face showing, 

“I gotta go to work!” Roman told his dad. The community has always wrapped their arms around him, and his father says Roman’s growth is a testament to that. 

Local artists gave him tips when he started dancing. He now dances alongside and looks up to the members of the Oakland Originalz and other artists in the area. Roman also plays the drums, often learning alongside Aaron Warren in Oakland. 

So what’s next for Roman and his dance skills? He hopes to audition for an upcoming Hip Hop Nutcracker performance to be shown later this year. No matter where his future takes him, Roman’s father wants him to have a deep connection to the place he calls home. 

“You can’t move forward without knowing your history, right?” Caviness told KTVU. 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.