IJay Espinoza is a Bay Area dancer, choreographer, teacher and freestyler from the small town of Newark, California.
IJay fell in love with dance at the age of 14. He began his dance journey when he joined his high school show choir. Since then he has participated in over 10 musical theater productions (Aida, 42nd Street), gaining experience in jazz and tap.
However, IJay’s true passion lies in urban dance forms. His freshman year at Stanford he joined the campus group Alliance Streetdance, quickly becoming a prominent choreographer and eventually directing the group.
IJay discovered a love for waacking while taking a class from Hikari Murakami and Irene Choi. A year later, he trained under Tiffany Bong and participated in his first freestyle battle.
IJay mixes waacking into much of his work, often adapting it to the feel of the music by fusing it with other dance forms. Although this is his signature style, he is always pushing boundaries with his choreography, refusing to confine himself into a box. Regardless of the genre, his work is usually groove-heavy, involving intricate musicality, full body movement, and an emphasis on an emotional connection with the music.
In the summer of 2012, IJay participated in the international dance intensive BoogieZone Xchange, created and hosted by community leader Elm Pizarro. This program helped him gain a foothold in the world of professional teaching. IJay has taught workshops both in the Bay Area as well as the Los Angeles area.
He has danced and trained with the all-male dance crew Project M, founded by Emerson Aquino, and currently dances with Groove Against the Machine under Daniel Kang and Leslie Panitchpakdi, and XX/XY under Tawnya Kuzia and Bibi Khalili.