Archive for August, 2010

Showcase: Paulo Genovesi (a.k.a. Hitman)

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

For some reason, I keep coming back to Canada. I was just rounding up my contacts with the Canadian lockers when I happened to catch a video of the Canadian based group The Moon Runners. They are an amazing crew, and each individual member holds up in their own unique way. The group deserves a proper introduction (and I’ll give it to them soon), but let’s focus on one of its members: Paulo Genovesi, a.k.a. Hitman.

You can see from his above videos his incredible isolation control, his waves that creep through his body, and his ability to make his botting movements look unreal. I don’t think it’s wrong to compare his qualities to those of heavyweight botters like Madd Chadd and Tyson Eberly.

The following clip not only shows Hitman’s talent, but also the spot-on choreography by the entire group. They describe the type of music that they dance to as glitch hop. The music is defined by sound effects, and the group interprets these sounds with their unreal movements.

The following clip showcases Hitman’s command of speed changes. He alternates slow movements with quick bursts of explosive movement, which then come to a dead halt just as quickly as they started. I found this his most impressive solo.

There are many other videos of him and the crew Moon Runners, and I’d advise you to check them out. You won’t regret it. Also check out Hitman’s youtube account and facebook page. The youtube account of the crew Moon Runners can be found here.


Youtube quickie: Popin Pete at Old School Night vol 10

August 24, 2010 2 comments

You know what? I don’t think I properly understood how good Popin Pete’s dancing really is until I saw this clip the other day. Credit goes to hanx036 for putting this up.

Raw interview: Scramblelock (part 1)

August 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Meet the great locker from Canada, Scramblelock. From teaching classes to organising events like Funk Fo Yo Feet, he has done so much for the dance community and deserves our gratitude. Some of my favourite dance battles came from the events he organised, and he has helped me realise how important it is to dance to the music.
The interview is divided into three parts. A link at the end of each post directs you to the subsequent part.

You write that you started bboying in 1998 as a result of facing bullying in school. How did dance help you deal with conflict?

It’s funny, one of the kids I grew up with in elementary school went from being a close friend to a bully once we got to high school. The first school dance I went to, I witnessed a bboy circle and was blown away. I knew about breakdancing since I was really young, my uncle introduced me to it in the 80s through Michael Jackson, but I had never seen it live and with that kind of energy. Then I saw that one bully go in and was really surprised. The next day he got all sorts of compliments and respect from people and it really frustrated me. I said “if he can do that, I can do it better!” Long story short, after a few months of practicing on my own when we came back to school the next year people were shocked to see I was able to break. I remember at one point even that bully came up to me and gave me props. After that I never really got picked on as much as that first year so to answer your question dance was my escape and it served to diffuse what could have been a really negative situation throughout high school. Some of my best memories in high school were meeting a really good group of friends and all of us used to practice in a hallway during lunch. That was where I formed my first bboy crew: Rubber Soulz! Much respect to those guys!

What roles do you believe that ego, competition, and aggression play in bboying and other streetdances?

First off, ego to me is a negative thing. Having an ego blinds you from seeing where you really stand skillwise. Honestly, in the street dance world, you got to be able to check your ego before you can really start learning from anyone, including yourself. However, I believe having confidence is something very different and much more important. Having confidence in yourself is one of the gifts one can gain from studying bboying, locking, popping, whatever dance you pursue. If you are honestly aware of your own abilities, I think it helps you see much more of the big picture and where you fit into the scheme of things.

As for competition and aggression they play an important role in all street dances as well. Having competition can be very motivating. It can push you to reach new levels so long as you keep it positive. I’ve always liked battles and contests not necessarily for the winning, prizes, recognition, etc. but being able to test yourself. Winning is dope but walking away knowing what you need to work on and improve is way more rewarding.

I think it’s ok to be aggressive too but there’s a time and a place for it as well. Battles can get intense sometimes whether in a contest or in the circles so sometimes you need to step up that power in your dance. Sometimes when Im dancing there’s so much going on in my mind (stress, frustration, etc) that letting out that aggression through dance is almost therapeutic too. It really comes down to knowing how to handle the aggression and being able to channel it constructively.

What were the reactions of your family and friends? Did any of them provide an influence in your dance?

Well my parents were always tough on me for wanting to dance, they always stressed me to focus more on school. They were right, of course, and I’m glad I listened to them. Finishing off my Masters in Chemistry last year was a huge accomplishment and I couldnt have done it without them. But like I said they always gave me a hard time when it came to dancing. In a way, that was really motivating though. It made me work harder to show them I can do something with dance and when they see I’ve been able to travel, teach, etc I think it really opened them up to it a bit more. We made a deal back when I was in school: Finish school, then do whatever you want. So here I am finished with school and I’m really trying to do something positive with dance.
As for the rest of my family, they were always supportive of what I was doing so I’m very thankful for that and of course I have a lot of close friends who have shown nothing but love and support since the beginning. My girlfriend has always been supportive of what I do and that also means a great deal to me.

Click here for part 2 of the interview!

Raw interview: Scramblelock (part 2)

August 21, 2010 1 comment

What led you to pursue locking in 2000?

At the time locking was a mysterious dance. People were talking about it and there were a few videos I managed to find (VHS not youtube!) but there was still very little known about the dance. It was through theĀ forums where I first saw some interesting discussions of locking from Gemini, Richie Rich and Sundance and that really sparked interest. I wanted to learn more about this mysterious dance and see what it actually looked like as opposed to reading about it. I saw a clip of Loose Caboose doing a showcase at Freestyle Session 3 and when I saw this energy and funk, which was something very different from bboying, I was sold! A few years after I met the Fantastic Poppers from Toronto and those guys showed me tapes of The Lockers and really broke down the basic foundations of the dance. After that it was on!

You took classes from such prominent lockers like Don Campbell and Skeeter Rabbit. Which locking dancers were the greatest influence on you, and from which did you learn the most in the classes.

Much respect to all the lockers Ive been fortunate enough to have met in the last few years. They have all influenced and taught me many valuable lessons. The ones who have had the greatest influence on me are as follows:

Licorice Lloyd – my first locking teacher. He was the one that put me on to the foundations and history of locking

Richie Rich – Richie was the first locker I met when I visited LA for the first time. He told me “don’t ever let anyone tell you you are doing anything wrong, but always remain open and learn from everybody!”. Richie has a really positive approach to locking and he’s been more than just a teacher, he’s become a mentor and friend. He’s taught me a lot about battling and just getting down too.

Gemini – Gemini has been a huge influence on me. He’s like the Obi Wan Kenobi of locking. He’s done his homework and I think one of the few out there that truly understands the full picture of locking. The level he is at is ridiculous! He’s travelled and learned from many different dancers and that really inspired me to do the same. Again he is someone else who has become a mentor to me and is now a good friend too.

OG Skeet – I got in touch with the original Skeeter Rabbit late 2004 after he returned to the locking scene. The stories he’s shared and the feeling he has when he teaches/locks has really opened me up to the real roots of this dance and the true power of locking.

Loose Caboose – Caboose taught me to take my time when I dance. Many people rush through their moves but Caboose taught me to breathe and really take the time to complete my sets. He can take a few moves most people can do in 30 sec and stretch it out to 1-2min. Caboose is full of funk and when he gets down you can really feel it!

Greg Campbellock Jr (RIP) – I think he’s touched everyone in some way before he passed away earlier this year. I managed to meet up with him several times in between 2005 and 2008. He was another original in the game and everything he shared I consider gems!

Also have to mention Flo Master, Suga Pop, Fluky Luke, Don Campbell, Peekaboo, Jazzy J, Frank Boogie and Disco Dave. Much respect!

I have found a large number of talented dancers that live in Canada. Is the Canadian dance scene particlarly vibrant? How much private support and government support do the dance events receive in Canada?

Canada has a lot of talented dancers. From Vancouver to Calgary/Edmonton/Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and even out east in Halifax and Newfoundland there are dancers growing and developing. I can’t speak for the West Coast or the Maritimes since I havent been out there in a while, but I can tell you there are a lot of dope dancers in Toronto, Ottawa and especially Montreal. From bboys to poppers, lockers, waackers, krumpers, hiphop dancers and house dancers. Montreal is particularly vibrant. As for support, there is and there isn’t support for events. Just last weekend in Montreal there was a really cool Hip Hop festival called Under Pressure that unites Graf writers, MCs, DJs and bboys/bgirls. Every May there is an event called Bust A Move and it got sponsorship from the City of Montreal this year which was pretty cool. Slowly things are growing!

Click here for part 3 of the interview!

Raw interview: Scramblelock (part 3)

August 21, 2010 1 comment

What is your daily training regime (including supplementary training like exercise and stretching), and has this changed significantly over the years?

Ever since I was in high school I had different training routines. Initially it was just stretching daily and doing pushups, situps, etc as well as practicing almost every day. As I got older I had more on my plate so I had to manage my time more effectively. Nowadays I try to get in 2 or 3 practices a week plus going out dancing at clubs on weekends. Montreal is pretty dope for funk jams and such, so there’s usually always somewhere nice to go dancing on weekends. In addition I had some bboys put me on the conditioning tip and Ive also been doing a training program called Insanity. The name speaks for itself.

You regularly teach classes in Montreal. Does teaching the dance to others improve your own understanding of the dance?

Absolutely! From teaching I’ve learned many many things. Not just about dance but also on how to deal with people of all sorts of age groups/backgrounds etc. From teaching others I’ve learned how to develop my own techniques for teaching, routines (and remembering routines!) It also gives you perspective and can help you see where you once may have stood as a dancer starting out. In a way it gave me a greater appreciation and respect for my teachers and the patience they must have had to school me! Teaching is a big responsibility and I take it very seriously. You can learn a lot from your students as well. I’m still a student of the dance and have my elders that I look up to and turn to for advice/support and so the motto “each one teach one” is something I try to keep in mind along this journey of dance!
I’ve also been fortunate to have taught in countries across Europe as well and out there, I learned that even if you can’t speak a certain language you speak through your dance and that is something very powerful!

What mistake do most beginners typically make, and what one advice would you give them?

“Funky” does not equal “Funny” all the time! Locking is as serious of a dance as bboying and popping and Im not saying you got to be angry but you got to be true to yourself. Dont fake the funk! Funk comes in all forms, feelings and emotions. Learning how to bring that funk out from within is something very difficult and takes years of work!
In relation to this: BE HUMBLE! Many people think they just need to learn a few moves in locking and they’ll get it, but locking is really really hard! Again, it takes years of practice and straight schooling, if you don’t stay open it’s going to be a lot harder to really develop.

Are there any dancers from the Canadian scene you would like to give a shout out to?

Shoutout to my locking partners in funk:

Loose Canon
Baby L
Funky Miko

I also got to mention a slew of other dancers. Here we go!

Frank Boogie, Tony Three, Licorice Lloydd, Boogaloo Storm, Neo, Bonez, Funk Mystic, Sirreal, Popsikal Pete, Fon, Monstapop, Venom, Sam I Am, Dazl, Namo, Tash, Rick Slade, Bag of Trix, Boogie Brats, Supernaturalz, Stylordz, Canadian Floor Masters, Famous Circle, Treble, Tabu, Lazy Legz, Illmask and Fresh Format.
I also have to shout out Son of S.O.U.L., Alan Cross, Frank BLVD, Professor Groove and DJ Static of WeFunk Radio, Ruby Jane and all the Toronto and Montreal funk DJs who have been a huge influence.

Finally, the hardest question: What was your most memorable moment in dancing for you?

Most memorable would have to be the first time I went to LA on my own in 2004. I really got to see what the international dance community was all about and it was the first time I went to the Bboy Summit and Freestyle Session. After going to those two events, I knew I wanted to make dance an important part of my life, beyond just a hobby. I think it was the most memorable because it was one of the first powerful moments next to maybe the first time I decided I wanted to learn to break or lock.

Lots of memorable moments have happened since then. I have never travelled as much as I have this past year and I met so many wonderful people through dance. Being at BOTY or Juste Debout and seeing the amount of people who unite for dance is very awe inspiring. Even just simple moments like hitting up a funk club with your friends or getting a compliment by a teacher you look up to and have them say “you’re on the right track, keep it up!” is pretty memorable.

Be sure to visit Scramblelock’s website, and also take a look at his amazing Love City video.

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Categories: Interviews

Youtube quickie: K-Min and the waacking girls

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Ok, who is this K-Min and who are those two girls? I don’t have any answers, all I know is that I have to find out everything about this clip. And I mean everything. Credit goes to gago51512002 for putting this clip up.

Categories: youtube quickies Tags: , ,

Showcase: Madd Chadd

August 15, 2010 1 comment

Madd Chadd in Jon M. Chu’s Step Up 3d

Tyson Eberly is the one who got me into dancing. I admired his mechanical movements, waving, and animation skills. Tyson used to be in the group Elastic Illusions, which included Otis Funkmeyer. Funkmeyer taught me the importance of the robot as the foundation for other popping related styles. He also mentioned the name of Madd Chadd, a friend of his and Tyson, who Otis called the undisputed champion of mechanical movement.

When I viewed footage of his dancing, I saw why. The two qualities that define mechanical movement are isolation control and the ability to dimestop. Isolation is about moving one part of the body independently from another body part. Dimestops are the ability to stop a movement as abruptly as possible. These two skills give mechanical movement their unreal quality, because humans don’t quite move that way. It’s more about how a machine would mimic human movements, but not getting it quite right. Madd Chadd has excellent isolation skills, and probably the best dimestop skills out there. I particularly love his strobing (a series of advanced dimestops) that can mimic high-precision motor, or an electrical surge causing a glitch in his movements.

I found it quite unusual for a dancer to focus so extensively on the robot. How could one perform the robot style during a dance battle? The following clip from a battle in 2004 answered my doubts, though.

At the time I discovered his dancing, Madd Chadd had just started work on Step Up 3d, which recently came out in cinemas. It was directed by Jon M. Chu, the director of Step Up 2 The Streets. Chu formed the dance group LXD (Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) largely from the dancers of those films, and started a number of viral dance videos. These include the internet dance off against Miley Cirus and the Election Day dance off. The LXD performed a number at a number of events, but my favourite is their performance at the Ted Talks. The video below skips directly to Madd Chadd’s performance, but I advise you to watch the entire clip.

The project I feel most excited about is Chu’s new web series, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. Madd Chadd is the main character in the third episode, a fallen soldier who wakes up and finds that the villain (the dark doctor) has turned him into a robot (called Sp3cimen). It can be seen in on Hulu inside the US. Chu has stated that he’s trying to find a way to stream it outside of the US.

Growing up, I never thought I’d be interested in the robot, because I had seen some do it and it looked nothing more than just a joke. Once you think a dance is inherently bad, you stop taking it seriously and don’t believe that it could ever look good. If it weren’t for people like Madd Chadd, Tyson Eberly and Robert Shields, I never would have known how great this dance could be. I hope that the LXD reaches as many people in the mainstream audience and inspire them to see the dance for the art form that it is.

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