The Future of Track and Field: Q&A with Track and Field Sprint Coach Ron Jules

Ron “Future” Jules coaches sprints, hurdles, and jumps for the Colorado College Men and Women’s Track and Field teams, and teaches hip-hop dance classes at CC. Jules was a decorated hurdler for Penn State in the early 2000s, where he also co-founded the R.A.M. Squad hip-hop dance group. Jules and the track teams open up their outdoor season campaign at Willamette University in Salem, Ore. tomorrow, March 3.

Photo courtesy of Colorado College

Ben Hall: Where are you from, Ron?

Ron Jules: I was born in West Palm Beach, Fla., and then moved to Asbury Park, NJ when I was nine. So I would say around the East Coast.

BH: What was your background in athletics growing up?

RJ: I grew up playing soccer, and then I got into running from just racing at field day in grade school. I think I started running in Asbury park when I was young, maybe around sixth grade. I kept up with it, and then in high school I started taking it seriously, then on to Penn State, and now I’m coaching.

BH: When did you start dancing?

RJ: I was a sophomore in high school. My friend’s cousin was really good at dancing, so I was like, “I could do that” because I really love movement. So I started like that: watching music videos, and it wasn’t until I got to Penn State in 2003 that I got really serious into dancing and started learning all the different forms of hip-hop.

BH: At CC, did you start coaching track first or teaching dance first?

RJ: It all happened at the same time. I had a friend in the advisory office back when I started in 2014, so I went to go see her. And I went to coach Ted’s office because I saw the track and was like, “Oh, I wonder if there’s a track program.” So I went to his office, he thought I was an athlete, but then I told him all my information, how I ran at Penn State, and the next thing you know—the next season he calls me up looking for an assistant coach to help out Mike Simson, and then I took over the program after Mike retired. But that same day, we saw the dance director, and they were going to bring someone else in from out of town to teach the hip-hop class, but I was like, “Hey, I’m here, this is what I do,” and I got the job basically at the same time.

BH: What initially brought you to Colorado?

RJ: I was working at a camp called Woodward Camp; it’s a skate park/gymnastics camp, one of the best in the world. I was teaching hip-hop there with one of my buddies, Cuba, who basically got me the job there. We worked for that company for six or seven years during the summers, and I met my buddy Focus there. He’s a graffiti artist, a dancer, a really awesome guy … eventually, he convinced me to move out to Colorado because the dance scene is really good in Denver. So I went to visit, loved the town, and then basically I just moved here; packed four bags and just up and left.

BH: What’s the story behind your dance name, Future?

RJ: So the story behind Future is, my buddy Cuba [and I], we were dancing at this art festival, and we’re dancing in this half circle on the street, and we’re communicating to the whole crowd, and he’s like, “Man, that guy’s gonna be the future of dance, you wait and see.” And at the time I was looking for a dance name. So that’s how I basically got my name Future.

BH: Do you have any good stories from working as a bouncer?

RJ: I have a lot of good stories, some of them I can’t say for this interview. I was more of the non-aggressive bouncer. I was more of the “Hey, I’m gonna talk you down,” the sociable person … it was more of a positive thing for me. I really didn’t have too many altercations. But the stories aren’t really PG.

BH: What are some similarities you’ve noticed about teaching hip-hop and coaching track?

RJ: I would say dance is athletic in a way, but dance is still an art, so there’s progression in movement. So, say if you don’t know how to do an A-skip, let’s do a walking A-skip into a bouncing A-skip, and there’s variations so you can improve your technique for sports. Same with style; I don’t know how to do a handstand? I’m gonna do handstands against the wall. And if I want to get stronger, let me do some pushups to build up my arm strength. So in a way, the progression of movement is similar.

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