Link, Moptops Crew

Tiistaina 21. Joulukuuta 2004

Saimme haastateltavaksi legendaarisen Nykiäijän, Linkin Moptops crewistä. Lilflex Sara järkkäsi Linkin pitämään workshoppeja Helsinkiin muutamaksi päiväksi (nuff respect). Link on ns. newstyle tyylisuunnan edelläkävijä ja feimi kuumottavista battle ja freestyle skillseistään. Esiintynyt myös muiden lajien konkareiden kuten Ken Swiftin ja Skeeter Rabbitin kanssa. Jos ette tunnista miestä, suosittelen lämpimästi ”Wreckin shop, live in Brooklyn” –pätkän tsekkaamista. ”Snadisti” erilaista settiä kuin perinteinen tanssikoulujen laimennettu versio hiphop -tanssista.
Wreckin shop with Link, Moptops crew (NY) 24.3.2004 in Finland Helsinki

There are many terms that Hip Hop dance can be called with, like new style, new school, freestyle, New York style freestyle etc. What is the correct term in your opinion?
There are many terms but there’s only one dance style. That is Hip Hop. It was all freestyle, freestyle is just a term how you just used to let go, became free. Cause back then you got jazz and modern, everything had a name. We started freestyling, we did dance movements of feeling. There was no name for that. I hear all these terms but we don’t consider ourselves as new school or old school. We did boogaloo and breakin too. We considered us as dancers, nothing more.

Underground Hip Hop dance was presented to the world on the TV documentary called Alive TV: Wreckin Shop live in Brooklyn. How did this movement that was seen in the documentary begun?
That movement begun when we used hung out in the clubs. We danced in the circles at the same time. We took old school dances and added them to the way we dance now. If you look at the video, you see us doing hits and popping. We were just breaking the form of popping and added it to the thing we do now. There were actually two videos, one before wrekin shop, which was called House of Trey. It was about house dancing. There was vogueing and all that. That’s because Madonna did a video called vogue, and it made vogueing worldwide dance. Before Madonna did it, people were already doing it in the clubs, so they wanted to give credit to voguers who were doing it underground, before Madonna’s video.

Is that House of Trey video around?
We have it but not really too many people have that.

Are there any other videos than Alive TV, wreckin shop from Brooklyn?
Look at the popping videos, locking videos, breakin videos, look at any videos that you can. Learn them but don’t live them. Practice what you see and then create from there. That’s how these new names like new style, freestyle and other new names came about.

Would it be good for dancers to travel to places like NY and Paris etc.?
Actually, it is good to travel. You get to see different styles of dance, different way people dance. That helps the way you dance even more. You add on a part of them to you. They change your style just a little.

What you think about people thinking that the Hip Hop dance is the same stuff as boy bands are doing in the videos?

The videos and the teaching in the class are just the basics. What we do when we are in the circle and solo, it’s little different. Sometimes and mostly, it’s totally different. In the circle, you are free. In videos and what we teach in the class is what we call commercial; it is a way to break it down, so you can learn it, but it is not exactly the same that you see in circles.

Many people know Moptops, Pure Movement, Brian Green and Yokoi from Japan. Can you drop names of any other dope dancers that people should check out?
Mountboys, Nextlevel, there is so many… In Japan crews like Exist, now called Electric Trouble, House dancers from there such as Kango, Naoki, Megumi, Ange, Crive. There are some names. Hellfire from LA, Eddie, in New York you got Shannon, Caleaf, Terry, Bobby, E-Joe, Voodoo Ray, Brian, Marjory, Tweedy, Mega, Robin Dunn, Lex from Philly, Monsell, Shadow, Jazzy, Doc, Wiggles, Fable, Ken Swift. There are so many dancers. When you come across them, you only really remember them by their style. Their style helps to remember their name. Lots of people I know by their style not just for their name. I got big respect for all these people. I forgot to mention one, Yoshie from Japan. She is very good. Me, Yoshie and Yokoi made crew in Japan called 3 Da Hardaway. Then Be Bop Crew in Japan, Ricky, Sakuma Hiro, TRF, Sam, Chiharu, Etsu, there’s a lot of people…

What makes a dancer a good dancer?
Good dancer is a dancer who can just blank out. Close your eyes, feel the music and become one with the song. Not just dance what you’ve been taught, dance what you feel. Learn the music before you dance to the music. When you learn the music, you learn to appreciate it, and get different feeling. Feel what musicians were feeling. You learn all the sounds in the music. This helps your dance. Learn everything about music. Dance from the feeling. Don’t just dance because someone tells you to dance. Don’t just dance because you see someone else dancing.

We know that you are good at Popping and Funk styles, do you think it helps a Hip Hop dancer to learn foundations of styles like popping and locking to improve their own dancing?
Yes definitely. Learn the foundations of Popping, Locking, Breaking, jazz, modern. Learn to look at something and take it in. You might do a jazz spin, but what you do it not jazz. It’s how you do it later and what you create from it. Learn all the foundation of different dances.

What is your most memorable battles?
I don’t have one, that’s crazy. No, actually I do. It was being in the battle, but not knowing you’re in the battle. I had a battle with Rock Steady, but didn’t think it was a battle. I took it as we were just trading dance steps, you know, just having a good time. Later I found out that it was a battle. So that was my most memorable battle. Besides that, when I first met Stretch, you know we hung out all the time. All our friends were saying that him and me should be the ones that battle in the first Wreckin Shop, House of Trey. Him and me danced against each other but it was just all in fun. We started to do moves at the same time, we looked like we were in sync, like it was choreographed, but it wasn’t. We didn’t know that it was going to happen. That was the most memorable days too.

Hip Hop dancing is many times seen as mainly chorographical type of dancing. Do you think Hip Hop dancers should represent more in circles and battles as well?
Definitely, but when you battle, make sure you know you are in the battle. You can tell the difference between a battle and being in a circle dancing with everybody trading steps. Make sure you know you’re in the battle.

How did you like Juste Debout 2003 (Biggest Popping, Locking, House and Newstyle battle event in Europe)?
I thought it was great. I thought it was wonderful. There was just one problem. In France, if certain people don’t win, they think you judged them incorrectly. I would never do that, but if you don’t enter a battle like it was a battle, you can never win. In France if they don’t win, they are a little too sensitive about that. Other than that, it was great.

How was your trip in Nordic countries?
It has been great. Copenhagen was great. Here the students are great. There’s one little girl here that’s incredible. I am really shocked. She is a dope dancer. You can see it in her face; she is dancing how she feels. She don’t care what you think, and that’s great.

What is your most memorable moment in your dance career?
Wow, Michael Jackson. Watching him on TV, watching his videos and then saying to yourself I’m gonna do video a with him and then end up doing it, that’s the greatest thing right there. Besides that performing myself with the group, but yeah, that right there.

What gives you the most inspiration? What keeps you going?
Watching other people dance. Going around the world teaching other people. That’s the most inspirational and love to the dance. I love the dance. You can dance, and put a smile on somebody’s face. It is art. Only two things, music and dance can make somebody feel like you feel. That’s what keeps me going.

Word is free
Just dance because you love to dance. Don’t dance because somebody else dances or somebody is telling some other dancer you’re great and people are looking up to people like they are stars or something. Dance because you love to dance. Don’t just dance because somebody else is praised by it, that doesn’t mean that you will be praised by it.

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