A property agent during the day and a b-boy by night. We caught up with Dwijesh Ramnath aka bboy Dwijii of Mandatory Methods crew. A 22-year-old Durban based b-boy about the current state of b-boying in the country and where he’d like to see it go.
How long have you been B-boying?
I’ve been breaking for 6 years in total, 2 of which I sort of fooled around, but the remaining 4 years I’ve been heavily involved in training and competing.
Ok cool and what attracted you to B-boying?
I grew up watching b-boys like DJ Switch and Vouks on YO TV back as a kid. I took an interest in it immediately. I eventually met Robert Harris aka b-boy Starz back in Johannesburg in 2010. He taught me everything and eventually I adopted not only the dance form but the lifestyle too.
Has b-boying improved you as a person or has it brought something positive into your life?
Yes, it has! It has opened me up as a person by taking me out of my comfort zone, it has taught me discipline when training and having respect for others. Ultimately being humble above all else.
Would you say that you can make a living as a b-boy?
Very much so depending on where you live, it will involve a lot of sacrifice as compared to a 9-5 job. You’ve got to be on top of your game, have a reputation in the industry to be considered for shows, gigs and as well as sponsorships. If you look at it from a teaching aspect you need to be able to build a client base of students willing to learn from you. It’s a business as well and as an artist you need to market yourself out there to sustain yourself financially. In Johannesburg, there are certainly many avenues to sustain yourself. Durban hasn’t fully embraced the dance culture fully, that’s why it’s still difficult to be a full-time b-boy.
Is that one of the challenges b-boys encounter? Attracting new interest and sponsors?
And what are some of the other challenges the scene is faced with?
In the South African scene the main challenge is attracting the new generation and trying to attract interest from sponsors. On a bigger picture, we have like 3 – 4 big competitions for the year and not enough other b-boy events. Then when you win those you still must fund your own travel fees to attend the finals oversees.
How do you think the scene can attract younger audiences?
Well the scene can attract the next generation by informing them that b-boying can help you in many ways like expressing yourself, keeping fit, being creative and being accountable for themselves but further more as a means of constructive fun.
I’ve noticed in some parts the scene is totally decaying. Why is this happening?
Some B-boys do it for money and don’t focus on growing the community. Now the focus has become a thing that you can make money off but the scene is going to die out if we still don’t have cyphers and jams just go out and express ourselves for the fun of it.
As a newbie, many don’t realize that you should focus on the training aspect first and foremost. They want to do big moves to show out rather than focus on dance aspect so that also causes them to lose interest very fast.
Would you like to see more local events produced on a more professional level as they do overseas?
If South African events can be recognized worldwide that would be great but first off, we need more local events to promote b-boys. We need to create “Hometown Heroes” first because everyone looks up to international b-boys, what about our local guys? there’s plenty of talent right here in SA.
Do you think there aren’t enough high quality events because sponsors and promoters are scared it doesn’t do well attracting large crowds, so there’s a risk on investment, I mean after all there’s surely cost involved?
I think that’s the problem right there! “scared it doesn’t do well attracting crowds” they must realize it takes time. Redbull BC one started way back then and only in the past few years it started making a lot of money. Promoters and sponsors must realize it will take time to build up the brand or event.
Hey man, I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions!
You can catch B-boy Dwijii teaching at the Shanon B Dance Academy every Saturday from 12 pm – 1 pm. If you’re around Durban and like to learn B-boying you can email him email@example.com or hit him up on Facebook.
Love, Peace and Respect, Nazir
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nazir has been involved with Breaking since 2004, a founding member of Rocka-Fella TV. He has hosted Break Invasion and takes an active role in promoting South Africa’s breaking culture to the rest of the world.
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Thanks for reading!