We are thrilled to welcome back choreographer Crazy Smooth and Bboyizm for their new show Music Creates Opportunity, playing at the Historic Theatre from October 21-26! Even though their motto is “dance to express, not to impress,” Bboyizm will surely thrill audiences with their virtuosic dance moves and high-flying energy. We got a chance to catch up with Crazy Smooth and ask him a few questions about dance, Bboyizm, and his new show.
Your last performance at The Cultch, IZM, was a huge success. What can audiences expect with Music Creates Opportunity? Where do you look for inspiration when creating new work?
Audience members who have seen other Bboyizm shows (IZM, The Evolution of B-boying) will experience the company as they have come to know them while also being rewarded with a brand-new piece that will inspire them to continue to follow Bboyizm – and street dance – as we mature into our goal of being Canada’s premier street-dance company. Inspiration for new work usually comes to me when I am reflecting on the present… on what’s going on in my life right now.
Blueprint for Life is a great company that uses hip-hop as a community development tool and as a model for alternative education among First Nations and Inuit youth. Can you tell us a little about Blueprint for Life and what it’s like to work closely with them?
Blueprint For Life is a company that does social work and community development through hip-hop culture. I was part of the first team Blueprint for Life put together to go to Iqaluit (Nunavut). There were 10 facilitators for about 100 youth. We basically replaced school classes for a whole week and worked with the youth from Iqaluit 9 to 5 everyday. There were many components to the project, such as; dance training, working on a graffiti art piece, cultural exchanges (we learned about their culture), and talks on subjects like suicide, health, bullying, etc. By the end of the week kids put on a big show in front of their community. The social work in many ways happens from the relationship we create with the youth throughout the whole week. Working for this company was an amazing experience that gave me a lot of perspective on life, culture, and community. Before Bboyizm Dance Company became full-time for me, I was part of about 25 Blueprint For Life projects in both northern Québec and Nunavut. These experiences made me grow a lot as an artist and as a human being.
We know that everyone in Bboyizm comes from very different backgrounds and training. Can you tell us a little about how you came together as a group? Has the group changed much since its conception in 2004?
I’ve known some members of the company, like Strife, since I was in high school. I’ve been teaching other members like Julie Rock and NOSB since they were 13 and 14 years old. For the most part dance is what brought us together. The company always had about 15 members but over the years we’ve had new people join for different projects and we’ve had some members stop dancing because of their other professional careers, starting families, studies, etc.
I understand that your vision is for the company to promote and preserve the foundation and authenticity of all street dances. What are your thoughts on the evolution of breakdancing over the past two decades? How has the style been influenced and developed by other types of dance?
What people refer to as break-dancing is really B-boying or B-girling. Over the past 20 years the dance has evolved tremendously in many aspects: the complexity and physicality of the movements is at an all time high today, the level of athleticism has gone up also, the exposure that this dance is getting is 10 times more than what it was 20 years ago, and finally the money injected by companies in the b-boy/b-girl scene is really incredible. With all this evolution, I also think the dance has lost some of its purity and rawness over the past two decades. 20 years ago the b-boying scene was more about the art form, the community, and culture of hip-hop. Now I feel it’s almost becoming like a sport. Since it’s inception B-boying has been influenced by other dances and art forms like tap, hustle, kung-fu, rocking, gymnastics, etc. So that hasn’t changed! The one thing I would say is that now more then ever b-boying has become so big that it is the one that seems to be mostly influencing the other dances around the world.