**En Français Ici**
***Note: there are days like that when I feel like my translation skills are soooo poor. Please, bear with it 🙂 ***
Once is not habit, I will start this article with a little FAQ. This will be brief… but intense.
QUESTION 1: What the hell are you currently doing?
It’s very easy. My life currently consist in this:
In concrete terms, periods of intense work interspersed with moments of extreme lazyness. I admit my blojo** is low but there’s a good reason (strongly related to Nip Hop Project, which seems to be taking shape).
QUESTION 2: What about Hip Hop, then?
So it’s a bit like in the Westerns: abandoned town, storefronts and doors creaking, the wind blows and a small tumbleweed passes… Anyway, it’s quiet, as the following chart shows:
To preserve the honor, I decided to pull myself together and get moving before the rust definitely gnaws my bones. This is why I went to Mr Wave’s workshop on May the 10th; it took place at the Juste Debout School, as part of the event Puma School Of Legends (in truth, I had a chance to win my place via the contest).
The moment of ignorance
Frankly, I didn’t know who Mr Wave were. When I received the confirmation email, I first made a mini google search for further informations. I saw that he was part of the crew New York City Breakers so I told to myself: « Huh, this is breakin’!!??! What mess I got myself in?? » (well, you know, breakin… watching: yes; trying: no thanks; trying when you know there are chances you get to be seen on Youtube falling flat on my face : no way.)
With hindsight, I regret it a little lack of knowledge. It is only afterwards that I realized how lucky I was to meet a pioneer.
The D Day
JD School was fully relooked: Puma flags at the entrance; lobby painted of a blazing red with puma suede classic sneakers with the name of each dancer and 2 giant puma suede sneakers (if you know someone who wears size 50, tell him/her to contact the JD School).
The walls of the dance rooms were decorated with PUMA street art (this was already the case during the Juste Debout Week in February, but at that moment, all the walls had not been painted).
We were offered a t-shirt: soft cotton; customized puma suede classic design; « Puma School Of Legends » written around the neck; hard rubber logos next to the collarbone (front side) and the hip (back side). In a few words, a dope shit!
Others got sneakers (especially during the Super Dave’s workshop int April). Moreover, we could observe montains of Puma sneakers boxes at the reception… If it’s not an incitement to robbery, then what is it?
Given the event, given the number of cameras and camrecorders, there was no way to parasitize the dress code of the day with, let’s say… Nike, for example! All the logos that were not Puma were hidden with big black criminal-like adhesive tape: we were asked to wear our brand new T-shirt (ah shit! I have to inaugurate this beautiful immaculate white t-shirt with my sweat…). On the other hand, they sponsor the event, they offer goodies, we’re not gonna cry, are we?
In fact, I didn’t need to sweat too much as this workshop was more for our ears than our feet. Tony Draughon, aka Mr Wave, is one of these « instructors » who are more in the transmission of culture through speech than a transmission through gesture. Personally, I love this kind of workshops where the teacher narrates the Hip Hop. You learn far beyond a simple gesture: you understand the culture and the history related to it. It also enables to approach the dance in a more emotional, more spiritual angle.
A dance routine was the basis for this workshop, but a big part was left for freestyle:
1) Freestyle in the sense that the teacher insisted we dance the way we feel and not to replicate what he does,
2) Real freestyle. 3 students were asked to improvise.
Personally, I always fear this moment even if there’s a large dose of adrenaline followed by a moment of happiness once you’re done. But that day… I did NOT want to be picked! I hid behind a bigger student, I did everything to avoid eye-contact with the teacher, I prayed with all my strength not to be chosen… I had no freestyle mojo, not at all !
Mr Wave, a multi-style OG
Mr Wave describes himself as a dancer with an indefinable signature because « he doesn’t have one style but MANY styles. » From what I saw that day, I can confirm that…
At first, I confess I remained unmoved by his dancing – rather oriented wave (well, you can expect that, regarding his name…): while other students were amazed, he rather made me think of an octopus thrown alive into a hot oil pot. An extreeeemely electric style, in short… (let’s say I much prefer the aesthetics of smoother waves, such as KEI from the japanese crew Coo-Thkoo).
Then, his style oriented towards pops/hits: this was not the same story, not the same effect AT ALL! Pinpointed, powerful, beautiful and impressive.
The following video, featuring the New York City Breakers, will bring conclusion to this article. You can admire the master and strangely, I really enjoyed his waves in this performance ^^!