Positive Vibe: Owenboro man uses dancing to overcome life's stresses

Tayvis “Tayvho” Akpan, recognized by many as “the Dancing Man,” dances on Thursday for his YouTube channel, “Lil Tayvho Army,” at Smothers Park.

From Owensboro to Lexington and back, Tayvis Akpan or “Tayvho,” 21, has danced himself into the local limelight. He said while he is many times called “the Dancing Man” by those who do not know him, he has a whole identity outside of that.

Akpan can be seen dancing on sidewalks all around Owensboro and even danced the sidewalks of Lexington while he attended the University of Kentucky. He has since moved back to Owensboro where he said he has been for a little more than a year now.

Akpan really started while he was listening to his music walking down the sidewalk one day and eventually found himself dancing. At some point, he said, he realized people were watching him with their phones out taking videos.

In having dealt with depression and sometimes being bullied at school, Akpan said dancing was just one of the ways he is able to express himself.

“I don’t really have an inspiration, it’s just a natural thing,” he said. “…As far as me just doing my thing and vibing out, it’s just natural for me. There’s a lot of ways to express myself. I guess that’s one.”

He said he usually dances to rap, hip-hop, trap, instrumental and EDM music.

Other ways Akpan said he expresses himself and copes is through music and going for runs. He said he ran track in high school and still loves to run, although he does not typically keep count of how many miles he does while running or dancing.

“There would be times when I was feeling very stressed or frustrated with myself so I’d just run it off and would feel a lot better,” he said. “As far as walking and doing my thing, I don’t really keep track … I still like to run and everything, but as far as like how many miles I do, I just go with it.”

Akpan also produces his own music in addition to playing several instruments including the violin, guitar, piano as well as a few others.

“I wasn’t raised in a musical background. I kind of created it for myself … I’m really proud of it,” he said. “I just really love music.”

While his dancing has opened up many doors for him, including performing at Rupp Arena for a UK’s men’s basketball pre-game last year, he said he has an identity outside of that and wants people to know his name rather than simply referring to him as “Dancing Man.”

“I don’t like being labeled … so I usually try to tell people, ‘oh, I’m Tayvho or I’m Tayvis’,” Akpan said. “I have an identity. Everybody has an identity. You have an identity, I have an identity, my mom has an identity. Everybody has an identity, so I prefer people call me by my identity.”

Akpan’s advice for others dealing with depression or having a difficult time coping with different things going on in the country and the world is to be true to oneself and not dwell on negative things.

“I don’t really watch a lot of TV, but as far as like what everybody’s seeing on the news, all I can say is, you can watch it, but don’t dwell on it.” he said. “I don’t want that for nobody. I want people to just get outside … and just think about positive stuff.”

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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