FORUM: BEAT AROUND THE BUSH

First and foremost, I would like to welcome everyone to the bboy/breaking Culture Affairs forum. From the team and I we hope you engage in the articles and partake in the discussions.

We’ll be taking on and addressing hard hitting topics that affect the dance scene from the streets of Braamfontein to the corporates of Sandton City.

I would like to start this article by saying that while most of the issues raised are from my own personal experience it is certainly not my own opinion as many other dancers that I’ve engaged with share the same sentiment.

First Issue I would like to address is where seasoned and experienced dancers can’t stimulate knowledge & growth by teaching in certain dance schools, hold workshops or book gigs with corporates as first preference is given to people advocating for something they have little to no experience in.

I’ve personally seen teachers who dangerously pass on knowledge to students about B-boying, popping & locking but display no foundation or lack skills themselves.

Do they know what a top rock is? or Do they know that popping originated in Fresno, California?

It’s evident that there is a serious lack of research that goes into these classes and don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that they can’t learn but the fact that they repeat these mistakes shows that they have very little interest in learning about the culture or changing their attitude.

This situation seems to be worsening by the minute as every empty space is now being converted into a dance studio whereby hip hop is taught by educators from a contemporary or ballet background and who I reckon might have only being exposed to Hip Hop through either TV shows and Movies.

Now don’t get me wrong again I encourage more and more people to be inspired and get into Hip Hop but should they be allowed to teach and receive money for this?

This situation applies to the corporate world too and it really affects the Hip Hop scene as first preference is given to a “trained dancer” in classical dance forms.

WHAT ABOUT US?

We work extremely hard to perfect and master our moves as any other genre would! Some moves take years to perfect. As a Hip Hop cat it takes us even longer as we have to personalize the move. So, it’s safe to say that there’s a long amount of time that’s put into practicing.

It runs through my mind daily what gives someone the right to market themselves and teach a culture that they don’t honestly know anything about? Is it not insulting towards our many talented dancers who are educated and love this culture?

The problem goes further as the same people are also judging Hip Hop sections at competitions!

WHY ARE YOU JUDGING HIP HOP IF THAT IS NOT YOUR STYLE?

To enlighten you all there are certain “ORGANISATIONS” within South Africa with countless competitions taking place throughout the year that also hold Hip Hop categories respectfully. But here’s my problem these organizations hold no Hip Hop courses/workshops for their judges and in fact have not been trained themselves.

This is a formula that’s destroying the Hip Hop culture and its killed many young aspiring dancer’s dreams as they feel they are not good enough to go on.

I understand that dealing with loss is difficult but how do you determine that a participant is doing something wrong when as a judge you do not know what you’re looking for?

This is just one of the many issues plaguing our art form.

We’ll be attempting to engage with these organizations and have a panel discussion in our next Culture Affairs article so stay tuned.

Should you wish to have a question raised on your behalf or would like us to address an issue at the panel hearing please comment in the section below.

Salute!

Dexter

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