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(Photo: Debayan Dutta)

‘Dance is like breathing’: Excerpts From the Life of B-boys

To the b-boys and b-girls, b-boying is more than a dance form, it is a way of life. Listen to their stories. 

5 min read

While B-boying or break dancing is seen as just a dance style to many, to the b-boys it is a way of life, a culture in itself. And to a few, it is a way to overcome their disabilities.

In a nutshell, b-boying is a more urban term for break-dancing. It is a street style dance-off where the DJ plays a beat and the dancers are supposed to improvise and dance in sync with the beat. They are judged on the basis of how well they sync to the music, how well their transitions are when the music changes, how original their moves are, and certainly how cool they are.

At the Red Bull BC One 2018 World Finals in Zurich, Switzerland, dancers from all across the world, and all walks of life had gathered – some to compete, and the others, just to have a good time.

Meet some of the different b-boys and b-girls, and listen to their stories.

I lost my leg due to cancer. I started dancing two months after that. I joined a crew last year and our motto is ‘No excuse, no limits’. I love dancing. This for me is my work, my life, my everything..and my English is really bad.
I came to Switzerland as a refugee. In the beginning we had no money, nothing at all. I needed something to be myself, to fulfill myself. I needed something to put my energy into, because that was something that was always missing in my life. And that’s when I started dancing. The most important thing about dancing is to be yourself. Because you see so many dancers around you and you are like, “what he’s doing is dope”, “I want to do that too”, but you forget yourself. It is hard to explain, but it is actually very easy.   
Whenever I am practicing, I think like a chef. You have all the ingredients. You have chicken, oil, spices, chili, potatoes and lots of vegetables. Just like that I have a lot of elements. I add them and I play with my essence so that I can make something different. When it comes to emotions, you build your own character. Whatever I am feeling inside, it comes out when I dance. 
Flying Machine
B-Boying is my escape from everything. Whenever I fight with my parents at home, I dance. When I dance, I don’t think about anything in this world. This is my biggest escape. 
Flying Machine
Dance is breathing. If I can’t walk and dance, then I will find another way to dance. I always tell everyone that my inspiration comes from people who can’t actually walk and still dance their a** off.
People don’t see something in us. They have to see something in you, they have to see the discipline, they have to see that you are successful. We live in a time when people don’t care about how you think, they care more about what you do. Even though I don’t like the idea, I do work with it. I give them something. Show them discipline, show them that you are successful, show them that you can do a lot with breaking. When they see that, they will believe. 
I started breaking last year. I come from a contemporary dance background. I was dancing for a long time, so last year I decided to try break dancing, and I totally got into it. I love the community. When it comes to other dance styles, you go for classes and then you are done. But break dancing is all about the community, travelling, all the jams and the vibes. I love that. 
What makes me dance, what makes me joyful about dancing is the constant need to create movement. I need to create movement. So it is about improvising, creating movement, creating a flow. I learned contemporary dance, ballet and did some yoga for some time. This way I could mix different styles into my dancing.
There’s a lot of pressure when you are at the finals. Your family is cheering you on, your friends are cheering you on, and it puts a lot of pressure on you. They are telling you that, “you’re going to win”, and you don’t want to fail them. It gets in your head. You are worrying about everyone that’s watching. When I am about to go up on stage, I erase all that out of my head. I kind of meditate. My head is empty. 
It is more than just a physical act. It is also mental. I believe that you need to train your mind, because if your mind is not right, your body can’t be right. You might be strong or powerful, but if your mind is not in the right place, then your body won’t work. You need to prepare your mind more than your body. 
Everyone has their own different story playing in their mind when they are dancing. My story is from where I come. I come from a small place where there aren’t many b-boys. You don’t hear of Moroccan b-boys winning events. So I want to normalize b-boying. I want to give the new generation a chance. I come from Morocco but I live in Austria now, where the scene isn’t big either. I want to make the scene bigger. 

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