Yu family dances its way through Berkeley

Photo of Robert in a one-handed handstand on the steps in front of Doe Library

Robert Yu ’18 busts a kick, a b-boy move that resembles a one-handed handstand, on the steps of Doe Library. Photo by Keith Uyemura.

My mom and dad. My brother, sister, and me. Seven aunts and uncles. Two cousins. Three significant others. My family loves UC Berkeley, and we are proud of graduating from such a wonderful university.

While my siblings and I attended Cal as undergraduates and majored in integrative biology, each of us has followed distinct career paths. Chrystina ’15, OD ’20 attended Berkeley’s School of Optometry, Michael ’17, JD ’21 just graduated from Berkeley Law, and I’m excited to start the doctor of physical therapy program at Samuel Merritt University. Throughout college, all of us were fortunate to receive the Cal Leadership Award, a scholarship from the Cal Alumni Association. 

Despite the adversity we faced early in life, it led us to dedicate ourselves to Wushu, a Chinese martial art, and open-style dancing. My siblings and I are 5th-degree black belts in Wushu and have been on the USA National Wushu and Kung Fu Team. We captained the Cal Wushu A-Team, which has won a major national competition for the past 10 years — six of which we helped lead to victory. Michael and Chrystina also directed CMAT, a large national Wushu competition held at Berkeley, and Michael and I were also fortunate enough to perform in TEDxBerkeley with Cal Wushu. 

My siblings and I have also served in a variety of leadership and performing roles in Cal’s dance community, which has thousands of dancers who practice all over campus. I am grateful to say that we have led hundreds of dancers and many dance teams at UC Berkeley. Shout out to Team Velociraptors, Truelement, and The [M]ovement for such great memories! 

While juggling academics, work, and dance, I created “That One Feelsy Album,” 10 concept videos featuring diverse dance styles. Made in collaboration with other dancers, choreographers, videographers, and designers, the album brought together the entire Bay Area and Berkeley dance communities and transformed me in every way, shape, and form. It also led to an invitation to teach in Chengdu, China — fulfilling a lifelong dream to teach internationally. Teaching students who speak a different language was a surreal, eye-opening experience. I never imagined this album would take me across the world. The trip further inspired my resolve to become a physical therapist to help others find themselves through their movement. 

I have been watching the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco, one of the largest celebrations in the nation, since I was a kid. In 2019, I was hired as the opening act and founded a performance team based at Cal, Raw Art Within, that performed my original choreography. This experience made me appreciate my culture and community that much more.

I love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for providing our family with such an opportunity. GO BEARS!

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