Over the years, dance styles have changed; many have come and gone. From the sock hops of the 1950s and the Peppermint Twist to disco during the late ’70s and break dancing after that, there have been people who have excelled at each.
When dancing, it’s one thing to blend into a sea of dancers on a dance floor and yet another to be in front of a crowd of onlookers. You have to be fairly certain of your dance skills to take it to the entertainment level.
Anas Askar, a biomedical engineering technician for Aramark, who works at a hospital in Illinois, is one of those brave souls who has no problem or fear displaying his dance prowess. Askar has been in front of crowds going back to junior high school and has the confidence and personality for entertaining.
Askar’s talent has found its way into various venues.
“I usually do dance routines at fundraising dinners and some improv from time to time. I used be in theater, ever since middle school, so acting and being on stage was instilled in me at an early age,” he says.
He says that some of the venues for his dancing have included children’s relief fund charities and improv at dance competitions. He says that the dancing provides some entertainment value to events that might otherwise be just dinner and speakers. Askar injects an element of excitement into what might be a staid event.
Being in front of crowds had been a favorite pastime and it has included memorizing lines as well as dance moves.
“I carried on that acting into all four years in being lead in all the school plays. That feeling of being on stage is an indescribable feeling that I look forward to when the curtain goes up,” he says.
Obviously, Askar is not an introvert.
“I always wanted to be in movies and on the big screen. I knew to get there that it would take baby steps,” he explains. “I was real into comedy and thought about making funny videos around school. I ended up taking my mother’s digital camera and started recording some of the silly stuff that we would do throughout school.”
Even before the advent of YouTube, Askar was bringing his ideas on video to a bigger audience.
“I would edit the footage that I had and used to upload them to what was once a popular site; MySpace. Everyone loved what I had posted and would always ask me when a new video was coming out. That’s what drove me to make more funny videos and to start posting them for everyone to see,” he says.
Askar even did some extra parts in movies. He says that he was in one of the Batman movies and Ocean’s Eleven, when the movies were shot in Chicago.
Before a Large Audience
The Internet has changed our culture and made the world smaller. It allows for real time contact through voice and video. It can provide a worldwide audience to anyone with a video camera. YouTube has made this fact immensely true with some videos getting thousands, and even millions, of views by people in dozens of countries.
Askar has capitalized on this reality and brought his dance skills to an international audience. His YouTube videos have garnered thousands of views.
He has also taken the opportunity, with his skills, to bring additional awareness to breast cancer and the need to promote giving to breast cancer research. That was the focus of one of the videos. At work, he always wears a breast cancer awareness ribbon, regardless of whether it is breast cancer awareness month or not.
“I knew breast cancer was a serious issue and that not many people were mindful of it until they had either gotten it themselves or someone close to them was diagnosed with it,” Askar says.
“I had seen a video of nurses and doctors at a hospital raising awareness [by] dancing with pink gloves on. Once I saw that, I wanted to raise awareness through the one thing that I knew best that I can do; which was through dance,” he says I went to all different parts of the city of Chicago during Breast Cancer Awareness Month dancing around in a pink breast cancer shirt and glasses to raise awareness in a way that [would] catch people’s attention.”
“People all over the world would applaud my video and leave comments telling me how it brought them to tears knowing that their fight of breast cancer wasn’t going unnoticed,” he adds.
A Biomed First
ARAMARK Healthcare Technologies provides biomedical and imaging equipment services to hospitals nationwide. The company offers both on-site and demand-based services for the maintenance and management of clinical equipment.
Askar has worked for Aramark for about three years. He has been at the same location since he started as an HTM professional. He is just finishing up his preparation studies to earn his CBET as well.
“I repair and maintain a variety of equipment throughout the hospital such as patient monitoring, ultrasound, clinical, workstations, infusion pumps and many more pieces of equipment,” he says.
“I had always wanted to work in the medical field, but wasn’t sure which sector I wanted to major into,” Askar recalls. “I was very tech savvy and really into electronics. Once I discovered how biomedical engineering plays a major role in health care technicians operations and patient safety, I knew that this was the right fit for me.”
“It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that we can make doctors, nurses, and technicians efficient with their tasks by performing preventative maintenance and troubleshooting when needed. With Aramark, we look to deliver experiences that enrich and nourish lives,” he adds.
Just like learning how to maintain a new piece of equipment, the ability to master new dance moves has been an ongoing learning experience.
The dancing was a self-taught initiative.
“I just watched as I went and it was just practice, practice, practice,” Askar says.
Chances are, YouTube viewers will get more entertainment value in the future, while being reminded of a good cause.
Until then, you can watch Askar dancing around Chicago in this YouTube video: http://goo.gl/DJmDG1
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