by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Soul of Photography

Going with the Flow

student_hanna2Merrick Hanna started dancing when he was nine years old after being inspired by the dance crew Jabbawockeez. “I’ve been obsessed with robots since I was really little, and Jabbawockeez danced like robots. After I saw them, I taught myself to pop by watching YouTube videos,” revealed Merrick. He now dances because he loves dubstep music and is always looking for new and exciting music and artists on SoundCloud. Merrick has performed his unique dancing style on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a moment he will never forget. “Being on Ellen and dancing with Twitch is my favorite dancing experience so far. It was so awesome! Ellen sent a driver to our house and drove us all to the studio in Los Angeles. My name was on my own dressing room, and there were the best snacks in there! Ellen was so funny during my interview,” exclaimed Merrick. Ellen even surprised him with a ton of robots and robot kits to take home.

“Being on Ellen and dancing with Twitch is my favorite dancing experience so far.”

Giving back to the community is very important to Merrick, who shares his love of dance with children at the Ecke Family YMCA. He assists with hip hop classes for young kids and dances at Ecke Family YMCA charity events as often as possible. Merrick encourages anyone with a passion for dance to get moving! “You can start dancing at any age, and you can learn even if you can’t get to a dance studio. YouTube is your friend,” stated Merrick, who is trying out for the upcoming season of America’s Got Talent.


Name: Merrick Hanna (11)
Grade: 6
Parents: Shawn and Aletha Hanna
Sibling: Sagan (6)
Favorite Spots in 92024: Pipes Cafe, Souplantation (so sad it’s gone!), Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, Cardiff Reef Beach, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas Library, Trader Joe’s, Raul’s Mexican Food, Moonlight Frozen yogurt

student_hanna3When he is not popping or looking for new musical inspiration, Merrick enjoys hanging out with his friends at the beach, surfing, playing Clash of Clans, drawing robots, and teaching himself to code in Java. He cites math as his favorite subject in school as he loves working with numbers and problem solving. “I really like working on math problems on Khan Academy,” related Merrick.

With a bright future ahead of him, Merrick is already thinking about college. “My mom and grandparents graduated from UCLA, and my mom has already taken me and my brother to tour the campus. My dad graduated from UCSD, so I’ve also been there. I even practice sometimes with UCSD students that have a popping club called Poptikz,” said Merrick, who hopes to become a robotics engineer and continue his dancing career.