I am one of those people who don’t like to answer the “what do you do” question. This is simply because I don’t know answer that is short and good enough to make me happy. I have always been a curious person and I had different interests. From karate, to beat boxing or atomic physics, I have always let my passions fade to find new ones. This happened pretty much with everything except for one thing which kept me busy for the past 10 years, which is breakdance.
What is breakdance? All of you might have ideas that maybe don’t differ much from each other.
With this piece I would like to enrich these ideas a bit.
I think bboys and bgirls (this is how people doing breakdance are called) have many super powers. Of course, the ones that first come to mind are related to our entertaining attitude. People who can spin on the head, do all sorts of flips, jump on one hand. We can make people hold their breath and feel our passion for the music.
Nevertheless we have other superpowers that are less exposed but even more important.
Such as our worldwide community. In fact it doesn’t matter when or where we go, almost in every city of the world we can always meet bboys and bgirls to dance with and with whom it is possible to share the Hip Hop culture while getting to know the local culture as well. As it happened for me all over Europe, Brazil, Canada and South Korea. This awesome worldwide community enables other superpowers to develop very well such as creativity, in the dance and in life, and the one I am paying a lot of attention to lately: the power of influence.
Always more often bboys and girls became in fact teachers, community leaders, and role models. This of course generates great responsibilities. Last January when I was in Brazil with my friend Francesco, we experienced how hip-hop helps dealing with young people with a deprived background. We went there to teach break-dance in two Quilombos, which are rural communities with a particular history, as you can read in my previous piece. As soon as we were starting the music every morning, we had an army of kids coming, willing to put some serious effort to learn the difficult moves. In addition, while we were teaching things that would keep them busy for days or months, we were able to talk about the importance of self-esteem, of helping their friends, and of discipline, a key quality of bboys and bgirls. And of course all of this while having so much fun. Break dance is great because of it’s cool and gets kids attention really easily. This makes them listen to you!
Superheroes need to take care of their body and if you want to keep dancing for many years, there is no way out but having a healthy lifestyle and a positive lifestyle as well. This way we give pure and simple reasons against smoking or drinking for example. But also other issues such as drugs, violence and the importance of education can be directly addressed during breakdance events as it happens in Nepal for example. From friends living in Uganda I also learned that breakdance and Hip Hop can bring change where organizations sometimes fail, since race, social class and religion are not the main issue anymore. In fact when you are a bboy or a bgirl you learn how to take control of your life, to be humble and how to treat others as equals.
What can we take home from this, that can be applied somewhere else?
That in order to nurture creative communities, we need to make people meet constantly to socially learn from each other and share ideas!
That people will help each other when they feel they belong to a community where trust is one of the most important elements. And trust can be built when a great passion is shared.
And finally, that the positive values of Hip Hop, but also sports or art in general, need to be acknowledged way more than it is done today, to allow positive impact to grow!
But at the end of the day it is the fire that I see in the eyes of the bboys and bgirls around me, the power of sharing true values with my friends from all over the world and the opportunity to become whoever I want that kept me going for the past 10 years and that will keep me busy for the next 10 to come.
So what is breakdance now?