SK&Q is an organisation that wants to develop the HipHop culture, its members and street dance styles. Most of all we strive to revitalize the jams and battle culture in the street styles and elevate the level so we can be proud of the Belgium HipHop culture.

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  • When movement becomes art / A closer look at street dance

    When movement becomes art

    A closer look at street dance

    “You gotta feel this thing, because when you feel it, it can be filled with passion. It’s not easy, you’re not gonna get everything today but even being new at something is pretty cool. Even in the nervousness of trying this thing, it’s not just the execution. The execution you want to get right because that’s when you’re understood the most. If you’re in love you don’t mind kissing someone you appreciate. You’re not thinking about it, you’re just saying I can get one more chance to express my emotions. This is why you practice dance, this is motivation, this is when movement becomes art, without it though, it would be a bad version of exercise.”

    Byron Cox phrased the nature of dance whilst judging at the Style Kings & Queens International Streetdance Festival in April. Host Kaipo gathered dancers from all over the world during this two-day event. Among these dancers were Chris-Shaik Mathis(US), Iron Monkey (US), Rookie Roc (Belgium), Obelixx (Portugal) and Bboy Storm (Germany) to name a few. Even though they practiced different styles they all generally shared the same vision on dance which surpassed the paradigms of art, business and community.

    Street dance in all its forms can be understood as art. It’s crucial to understand that dancing could help kids nowadays to be creative and use the same creativity in all other aspects of their life. Dance doesn’t depend on having or making a lot of money. A lot of these dancers didn’t start on a big stage. They either went to clubs or practiced on the streets where they tried to manage with small mp3-players instead of music installations.

    Even though they started small, a lot of them had throughout their careers a network in the entertainment business. But it formed a whole other component. Often it was seen as a job. Iron Monkey for example did a lot of commercials for Nike and other brands but at the end of the day it was just a paycheck. Shaik, who choreographed on tours throughout Europe for artists like Guy and Bobby Brown, went even further and called the power of entertainment and main media over an individual disturbing: “Seeing what was happening in the industry businesswise had nothing to do with the dance or the culture. The dancers are now gonna be molested by the industry and their lifestyle. People are selling out on each other. The business, the money, it went so astray from the original agenda of dance.”

    The essence of street dance remains in art. It comes from the heart, only after that it became a business. But these dancers don’t do it for those reasons. They practice and teach because they get their pleasure out of sharing their love and their experience with people. Through these kinds of events they meet new people, exchange ideas and experiences, hear different stories of those who led different lives and be able to give back. Even though they’re from different backgrounds, they have dance in common. There will always be overlaps in culture, people want to be together and understand each other.

    “The first thing we have to learn those kids is that we are a family, leaning on each other, helping each other and seeing more than dance or hip hop.” Iron Monkey affirms Rookies’ statement: “We need to learn through exchanging, without this understanding we turn into animals. Our instinct is to hurt someone, show them that I’m better than them. I’m just gonna control the whole dance floor. It’s about me. Communication is the most important, we forget that sometimes. We’re busy with all this technology, we forget to communicate, that’s how you improve. That’s where all the information came from before, people sharing it. Because of the sharing it became something special. People are nervous around people now, I don’t know if you noticed?” With new inventions like microwaves and YouTube we have a whole system that has distanced us from being intimate with one another. Only through connecting you develop as an artist and as a dancer.

    Events like International Streetdance Festival preserve those communities. The contestants don’t care about image, clothes or status; they do their thing. It’s a whole different community which contains a certain vibe that catches you from the moment you’re entering the room. You do you and in that process you’re connecting with other people. In a way it’s forming a family where you can elevate each other and where age or background is of no importance for the process of growth. That’s why it is more important to create a platform to help people than to be the face of a platform whereas you focus on yourself.

     

    The main factor is being social. They don’t care as much for the word battle. Dance is used to avoid being physical. There is no approval for individuals who come in with a battled mind. Byron states that people today idealize and talk a lot of crap on the internet which is the biggest waste of time. It’s all about exchange, not coming in and taking the price, that’s the wrong manner. Shaik sees dancing as a community and therefore everybody’s involved so it’s essential to be comfortable and secure instead of pressuring each other: “Cause originally why we did it is because it’s supposed to be medicine. Who the fuck dances to be angry. It’s an endorphin; it makes you feel good and therefore it’s therapy. A performance is good but you can’t lose the sense of joying and sharing.”

    This sense showed at the finale of the event where the MC exclaimed 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? That’s gangsta!”

     

    Chloë Ramaekers

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