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Carlos "Retro" Rasmussen

    "I'm a self-taught freestyle animation dancer," says Carlos Rasmussen, who performs in various venues and teaches dance in local studios and as an artist-in-residence in Lane County schools. "Every move is created in the moment." When Rasmussen was five, he and his three-year-old sister Kyahna were rescued from the foster home in Portland where they had been verbally and physically abused. They were adopted by Lahna and Don Rasmussen of Eugene, who had previously adopted their older siblings Sophia, Izaiah, and Rozy, and later adopted a younger sibling, Markus. "That's when I met my crazy crazy family," he says. "Overall, there are 16 brothers and 19 sisters. They had two kids of their own and others adopted from around the world." Growing up, Rasmussen was into sports: basketball, soccer, track and field, and football. "And I was always into music," he adds. "I was introduced to marimba and piano in elementary school. I learned by ear and I still play." At Roosevelt Middle School, he was strolling the hallway when a friend asked, "Have you thought about dancing?" He hadn't, but after a performance in the 8th grade talent show, he began to take it seriously. "In high school at South, I met this kid Joseph, in special ed, who was dancing in the courtyard," he relates, "so I asked if he would dance with me in the student assembly. It was life-changing for both of us. He became more outgoing, and I saw that I could make positive change through dance." Rasmussen completed a GED partway through his junior year and "hopped over" to Lane Community College to study dance and psychology. He began teaching dance at Amazon Community Center and currently teaches at Flex Studio and Denbaya Drum and Dance, in addition to his day job at Pastini Retaurant.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 16 January 2020

Happening People has appeared in the Eugene Weekly since 1996. It's not always up to date on this page, but the archive dates back to 2003.

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