Harve de Grace hip-hop dance Kevyn Jones performs at the 2010 Funkbox Battle at Jamz Dance Center. (Photo courtesy of Kevyn Jones / September 27, 2013)

He spends more than 12 hours per week perfecting his breaking and creating smooth transitions in his popping and locking moves.

He has worn down multiple vehicles driving up and down the East Coast for shows and spent countless dollars on dance classes and traveling oversees for competitions. But 26-year-old Kevyn Jones, of Havre de Grace, said it was all worth it when he was awarded a medal at his first international dance competition in Taiwan this week.

Jones popped and locked his way to the bronze medal at the World DanceSport Federation competition, a feat no American has accomplished in 15 years.

"I didn't even realize I placed at first," Jones said. "I just wanted to sit down and get some water."

Jones said he danced for four straight rounds against other hip-hop dancers for the solo male freestyle portion of the competition for more than 10 minutes. He said the win was bittersweet because although he placed, his dance group, Highest Definition, or HD Crew, did not place as high.

"It was bittersweet because I placed, but my team didn't place in the group competition," Jones said. "I didn't know how that would make them feel because I placed... But they were really excited and happy for me."

A self-taught dancer with little professional training, Jones has only competed in one international competition. Last year, he tore his ACL a month before the International Dance Organization World Hip Hop Championship in Bochum, Germany.

"It was so hard," said Jones, who is one of the team captains. "I was glad I was able to be there with everyone else, but I wasn't able to dance."

Jones said he never took dance lessons growing up. He said he did not even become interested in dancing until his cousin asked him to try out for the dance team at Aberdeen High School, where they attended.

From there, Jones said he fell in love with the sport and has competed in competitions up and down the East Coast, performed in music videos and done countless live performances. Since then, he has taken several ballet and modern dance classes to widen his range of motion and technical dance skills.

"I love the feeling of being able to connect with people doing something I love so much," Jones said. "Being on stage and making people connect with you and smile through your whole performance is great."

Jones also teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced hip-hop classes at Jamz Dance Center in Pasadena and he recently started teaching at another studio in Crofton. He said his first time teaching was alongside a friend who taught a dance at Parkville High School.

"I was 19 so I was like the same age as the rest of the students," Jones said. "I really like being able to share something I love with other people who are willing to learn. I like seeing my students go from having no rhythm to creating their own routines."