By Anika Anand and Kenneth Christensen
Special to DNAinfo.com New York
NEW YORK CITY — It’s time to hit. That’s what Andrew Saunders thinks every morning he wakes up. That’s what he lives for.
Saunders, 18, hits the Q train almost every day. He rides the train and performs a dance called "litefeet" with his friends.
Litefeet is a style of dance that became popular a few years ago. It combines elements from dances like the Harlem Shake, the PC Shuffle, Chicken Noodle Soup and others.
"We do like spectacular stuff. Shoe tricks. Hat tricks. Like shirt tricks. We got everything. We really like pour our heart out," said Saunders, who goes by the nickname "Goofy."
"Sometimes people just want to feel love. If you interact with people like that, then they’ll feel good at the end of the day. Like, oh, these kids just made my day," added Saunders, who performs on the trains with a group of his friends he calls WAFFLE (We Are Family For Life Entertainment) and SYRUP (Show Your Real Unknown Potential).
“Because you can’t have waffles without syrup,” Saunders said.
The teens do acrobatic flips, spinning around subway poles and lifting their bodies up by the strength of their tiptoes.
They also join "battles" every Friday night at True Sound Lounge, a recording studio in the Bronx that opens up its space for the kids to dance and compete for bragging rights. At least 100 kids from all over the city go to the venue each week.
While Saunders is passionate about dancing, he says it also keeps him out of trouble. And that’s important to him for one reason: his mom.
A couple years ago, Saunders' mom had a paralyzing stroke. He says that he just wants “to do good for her.” His mom says she just wants to see him graduate high school, which he’s doing in May, and become a famous dancer.
Saunders is realistic about a career in dancing. He said he thinks it’s more important to go to college and try to get a stable job afterward. He mentioned trying to work for the government.
"It keeps me out of trouble. The trouble that’s out in the Bronx now. There’s a lot of gangs," said Saunders. "It’s follow the leader. I don’t want to follow, I want to lead. I’d rather do it in a positive way."
He said he was devastated by his mother's stroke, which left her paralyzed, and that he visits her in the nursing home at least three times a week.
When Saunders visits her in the nursing home, she sometimes asks him to perform for her, he said.
"I just stay out of trouble just for her," he said. "I’m just doing it for her. And all I just wanted to do was just do good for her. And that's what I’m doing now."