My daughter joined a Breakdance class last year. She always loved dancing and had a natural “popping” ability, so I showed her some styles online and Breaking caught her.
It might seem peculiar compared to e.g. swimming or soccer, but the style was as normal to me as street drummers or people passing with purple mohawks (I grew up in cities and various cultural circles).
But this was the first time I got to get close.
It’s one thing to hear about crews and listen to beats as a kid. It’s another to see your own kids rocking out.
And every time she had class, it was like all was well with the world..
Beats obliterated any mental stress (I work with some heart-heavy issues), and I could purely enjoy watching the kids have fun, contemplating foot grabs, manifesting moves through repetition and laughter, turning bodies into puzzles of drama and release. NICE.
Catching the teachers or other groups throw down (in a good way) was another dimension..
So I started geeking..
Catching IG clips, attending some battles (or “Educational Celebration” as Swizz Beats says–“because we’re battling enough as it is..”), and just feeling the roof lift.
So much love, funk and explosion, reconnecting with some of the culture, fam sending jams or who’s who from ‘back in the day,’ my dad visiting and reminiscing (timely, it was his last time <3).
Breakdance Isn’t Just Dance.
There’s love, community, history, groundbreaking..I’ve been sitting on this post for a Long Time. The more I touched, the more I knew I could never do it justice. Even the writing felt like confining something so free.
But I’m a fan of coming out about stuff, so–with as much love and respect as I can— here are some Life Wisdoms I’m pulling from this art/passion/expression/community/beauty/heart called Breaking.
1. We’re all standing next to Superman.
I sit at the table drinking coffee at the dance school. Everyone around looks like a regular person (ofc, purple mohawks are normal). And no one has a neon sign over their head reading:
But that’s the hidden reality. Everyday.
Stand at the check-out, look around in the bus, the person who just walked past you… Put on a beat, give some social permission, and anyone might Blow. Your. Mind.
And it’s not just Breakers. Every single one of us is a walking Wildfire, or “a god” as my mom and I like to say/acknowledge.
Talent, creativity, a vision, a heart no one can fathom.. What are you sitting on? Each of us is amazing.
We could never write all our passion and stories (incl. of survival) on our skin like the YA book “Ink.” But even if we could, it would still never capture who we are.
And do we really know yet?
2. What The Borders?
There’s a lot of diversity and community at Breakdance (and many dance) events. Not just how we are, but even the sounds. You can rock Jazz, Latin, Funk, Triphop, Tribal, Classical… and yes, we checked, DnB 😉
We have different languages, cultures, styles, music, ideas.. but the Love and Art speak across these (superficial) barriers.
The NYC underground clip above is a fave: all kinds of people, some coming home from work, some maybe without a job, some maybe without a home (my God let’s change the Systems!)– but when we jam we’re One.
Who’s fighting when we’re rocking? Who’s fussing about skin color, a foreign tongue, a gender conform..?
And there’s no “privilege” or “bias” when we’re tuned to a beat.
The music, dancing, The Vibe speak for/from All of Us. And I think you can catch glimpses in any genre or community, from an HP fandom event, to a Skatepark meet..
Isn’t it what we’re universally striving for? #HumanKind
3. Art, Creativity, All forms of Expression are seriously important in today’s stressed tf out world. Receive AND Give.
I experienced how healing it was to be at the dance school or any events. Our bodies and minds can’t keep a struggle forever, and anyone who goes to the gym (Jeff, I’m looking at you) knows the importance of “rest.”
Breakdance reminded me how important it is to breathe and allow Joy.
(Jas, stop bugging.. But Yo, anyone who’s touched grief, or keeps their finger on the pulse of the World knows how sometimes you need to literally give yourself permission to be happy).
“We often think Creativity is something nice and warm and pleasant. It’s not. It’s Vital. It’s how we heal each other..”
– Ethan Hawke
We’re all connected.
If you express yourself, you help give me/all of us permission and encouragement to do the same. And Breaking has a big heart about Showing Up.
4. You (yes you) will have to Shine some time.
[It’s a shame they didn’t talk to more originators in this clip. Granted, it’s only 5mins, but when the scholar said “Bottom line, it’s just a dance,” I was like, Uhh, No. Narrator agreed.]
A young generation came with a fresh mix of music (breaks) and floor work that reached out to touch/heal/amplify across the globe. They showed up, pushed boundaries, walked a path not laid out for them.
Like the youth pushing #NeverAgain post-the Parkland shooting. Or the kids daring to sit at the counter in Woolworths. Or the students–still today– raising their Voice against War, Injustice, Extradition in so many Nations.. (where’s my f*ng pierced heart emoji?)
Many of us shy away from the spotlight.
It may not be a literal performance, it could be a hard decision, a difficult call, a Life Shift, or simply pressing publish on your blog/poem/pic/idea..
But just like Breakers take a moment to Step Up and Own the Floor (and hearts and skies..)–just for a moment– we too have to Show Up.
One Life. What’s Your Next Move?
5. “Failure is Impossible” -Susan B. Anthony
I see little kids show up on the dance floor, daring, trying stuff out, exercising bravery and ‘I Dont Care’ without overthinking or analysis-paralysis.
It’s inspiring, humbling, and empowering.
There will always be naysayers in our lives, critiques on how we handled a situation, what we said or didn’t say. Some of the heaviest hitters are in our own heads.
I’m not saying we don’t make mistakes. I’m saying we learn every time and always get stronger.
And if we never try, we don’t move.
Now more than ever, we need to Move..
6. The Sky is Not The Limit.
The Dutch have a phrase, “uit mijn dak” (literally, ‘out of my roof’ /getting crazy). I’ve laughed, I’ve shouted, I’ve watched some Breakdance sets that blew my mind.
And every time I feel how infinitely confining roofs are.
Even if you’re standing outside, can you really draw a line in the cosmos to where your heart stops?
Music has power to lift and meet everything, and some Breaking moves jump your adrenaline/dopamine/serotonin just by watching/enjoying/wonder.
Plus it’s new every time–every sound or move will be different, be punctuated differently, simply because we all see/hear/move/respond/Are different.
Not even the heavens were meant to limit us. (tweet)
On the surface it may seem a moment in a 4X4 (especially now with corona). But it’s supersonic..
How could it be anything less in a world that boasts something like Light and a different Sky for every milimoment of every day, for everyone?
(that time you looked up, it was just for you <3)
So, are you ready?
I found Breaking to be so much more than music or moves. It’s community, love, a little rebel, a lot of respect, crossing cultures, uniting communities, unity in diversity.. and couldn’t we all use more of that (in whatever form/forum) these days?
Get out of your head a bit, enjoy your music meds, check some art, visit a skatepark, (slam) poetry event, read a (YA/fantasy/your thing) novel, drop some science, breathe some nature, dig in the dirt, doe je ding, find the littlest joys and hope–even in that cup of coffee–and don’t be afraid to run with it.
Because if I learned anything from Breaking, it’s that it’s ok to Let Go.
© (made w/love @JasNotes – thisisheartinformation.com)
Holy Smokes, it’s been REAL trying to get this post out! Shout to Siem & Len for sharing their insights and love, and the precious Fam who was happy to relive and remember the dancing days. <3
I’m Jasmine, about to grab coffee and hoping something resonated? What life wisdoms spoke to you most? What’s your next move? Holla in the comments below.❤ You can also follow the blog to receive alerts of latest posts and news (the book is coming!!!)
– Diamonds & Pencils: Become the Hero of Your Story
– D.A.N.C.E – Shake it off
– Stay the Same or Show Up?
– Stars are Always Shining, even if you Don’t See Them
Other Music-oriented Posts from way back:
–God Loves #DrumandBass: Keep Calm (or Let Loose)
–San Holo & the Hope of Heaven
–God Sings Bieber – Hearing God on the Radio Aint Crazy
– Cover image by Josh Gardner (via Unsplash) modified by me/ @JasNotes
– “Educational Celebration” 😉 – “Breaking Best” event, pic @JasNotes
– “The Floor is Yours” event , pic @JasNotes
– HipHop Forever Stamps – USPS/United States Postal Service (you know you want them!)
– Breakers jumping-phenomenal shot via Tyrone Bradley
– Kid class, On the One/ Area 51 pic @JasNotes
– NightSky and Silhouettes – Hamid Khaleghi via Unsplash.
– Breaker Pow -photo courtesy of documentarian Joe Conzo
– “House the Vibe” Jam in Strijp-S, pic by me @JasNotes
– The Breaker image – unlabelled-waahh!- via WP Pexels
– Almost Everything will work again if unplugged – rohdesign
– B-girl – unlabelled-waahh!- via WP Pexels
– Practice/Cypher Community clip courtesy of Lentasy.Photography
*Where I can, I always try to credit photo authors. Msg me if I miss something.<3