When movement becomes art - a closer look at street dance
Chase reporter Chloë Ramaekers and photographer Sebastiaan Franco visited the Style Kings & Queens International Street Dance Festival in April, where they interviewed and photographed several attendees and dancers about their passion for street dance. Read their story about passion, expression and self-development down below.
Text by Chloë Ramaekers & Lowie Claperon, Pictures by Sebastiaan Franco.
“You gotta feel this thing. It’s not easy, you’re not gonna get it right away. But being new at something is pretty cool anyway. There’s beauty, even in the nervousness of trying. You want to get the execution right, because that’s when you’re understood the most. If you can kiss the person you love, you’re going to do it. You grab every chance you can to express your emotions. This is why you practice dance. This is when movement becomes art. Without it, it would just be a bad form of exercise.”
American Street Dancer Byron Cox phrased the nature of dance whilst judging at the Style Kings & Queens International Streetdance Festival in April. Host Kaipo Brewée, a Brussels street dancer, choreographer and dance teacher, invited dancers from all over the world for the two-day event, where dancers got to connect with each other through dance battles and workshops.
Among these dancers were Chris-Shaik Mathis (US), Iron Monkey (US), Rookie Roc (Belgium), Obelixx (Portugal) and Bboy Storm (Germany) to name a few. They all generally shared the same vision, which surpasses the paradigms of art, business and community.
Dance isn't about having or making a lot of money. Most of these dancers didn’t start on a big stage. American dancers like Shaik and Byron Cox danced in places like the iconic NYC underground club The Roxy during the early nineties, whereas the Belgian dancer Rookie Roc started out on the streets in Brussels. Rookie and his crew had to make due with small mp3-players instead of sound systems.
They started dancing out of passion. Making a living through dancing wasn’t even on their minds, Though indivertibly, business became a part of their lives.
Shaik, who went on to choreograph for artists like Guy and Bobby Brown, called the power of entertainment and mainstream media over an individual disturbing: “What’s happening in the industry has nothing to do with the dance or the culture. Dancers are being maltreated by the industry and their own lifestyle. People are selling each other out. The business, the money, it has nothing to do with the true agenda of dance.”
Events like International Streetdance Festival try to preserve the soul of dance. The contestants at the event don’t care about image or status. They are a family, in which age or background is of no importance for the process of growth. Sitting in on the workshops, we got captured by the positive, constructive vibes. The dancers did their own thing, expressing themselves and connecting with others.
Through these kinds of events they meet new people and exchange ideas and experiences. San Francisco b-boy Iron Monkey states: “Communication is the most important aspect of life, we forget that sometimes. We’re so absorbed by all this technology that we forget to communicate. People are nervous around other people now, haven’t you noticed?”
Every dancer we talked with emphasized the same idea: No dancer should come in with a battled mind. It’s all about exchange, not about coming in and taking the price. “Dancing is supposed to be a medicine. Who the fuck dances to be angry. A battle is good, but you can’t lose the sense of joy and sharing.”
During the event finale, the MC expressed the relevance of the genre with the following words: “This is how we did it back in the day. This is the essence of dance, have you ever seen so much love?"
Claudia Glo' Congiu