“The energy of the universe conspired to bring us together,” said Bboy He Ra
– The New York Times
A b-boy (or break-boy) is a male dancer who practices breaking or b-boying, the acrobatic hip-hop dance style. Breaking is a style of dance that evolved among Black and Latino American youth in the Bronx, New York, during the 1970s. It is danced to both hip-hop and other genres of music that are often remixed to prolong the musical breaks.
In Mumbai, it all started two years ago, when 19-year-old Akash, who prefers to be called Aku by his friends, entered the world of dance. “I joined a computer class where they offered to teach us Breaking,” he recalls.
Aku, a resident of Dharavi, is more than just a regular college-going student. He has been b-boying for two years. “Two years ago, HeRa taught us. We didn’t know anything. First we saw videos. I got scared that we would break our hands and legs,” Aku laughs.
“But don’t call it breakdancing,” he adds. The term breakdancing, though commonly used, is sometimes frowned upon by those immersed in hip-hop culture because the term was created by the media to describe what was called breaking or b-boying.
The boys don’t lack dedication, but they lack space. As the city has a space constraint, the boys are unable to afford to hire space. “We practise at Sion fort. We’ve cleaned up this space. But the authorities constantly harass us and drive us out of here. We have approached schools and colleges but they don’t want to entertain us,” laments Aku. – Text by Dilnaz Boga and photos by Pal Pillai.
Dilnaz Boga is an Indian journalist and the recipient of Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for her work in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Pal Pillai is an Indian photojournalist based in Mumbai.
B-Boying or what you may know as Breakdance
Is a form of dance embedded deep within Hip-Hop Culture
And today, in Now Delhi
It’s educating and helping kids, who by default are enrolled into the School of Hard Knocks
Every society the world over
Is divided into those with privileges and those without
That is just the inherent nature of the beast that is society
Those with privileges, have them just by virtue of the comfortable life they are born into
Where everything one needs is provided for
be it quality education,
or those pointlessly annoying shoes with lights, which, for some reason, became extremely popular when I was growing up
Necessity vs Luxury?
Those born without basic privileges of life, are also often the ones forgotten
Our rigid socio-cultural divide makes most cultural interactions inaccessible for them
Our system further pushes them into lives lacking individuality or any creative outlet
So how does one bridge this gap?
Creative learning and community building become a major part of the solution
And books aren’t the only way one can learn
Tiny Drops is one such solution
It provides children living in slums with an alternative creative and social outlet
through cultural activities such as dance, music, and graffiti embedded in Hip-Hop Culture
It provides a safe haven for children who are exposed to extremely harsh living conditions from a early age
And gives them something positive to put their mind and energy into
It is a space which attracts children from 8-18 years to come and develop a solid foundation in any of these artforms so that they can use these skill sets and fulfill their dreams
It is run by volunteer mentors who provide guidance to the kids with personal one on one interactions based on respect and friendship
Netarpal ‘Heera’ Singh is one such Mentor
He is one of the most active names in the Indian B-Boying Community
And was instrumental in setting up Tiny Drops in Mumbai
With others in Mumbai, he initiated several slum kids in the Dharavi slum, one of the wolrd’s largest Slum clusters, where the centre is now run by the kids themselves.
Now based in Delhi, he mentors at Tiny Drops in collaboration with the NGO Khoj, who provide the children with a space to practice in Khirki VIllage. Khoj also helped immensely in organizing the first ever ‘Park Jam’ in Delhi
Usually they Practice in the space provided by Khoj in Khirki,
but from time to time, you might spot them flying in the air in the gardens in front of the malls in Saket…
As a result of this initiative, now there is a very rapidly growing BBoying Community
Which was quite evident when Now Delhi showed up at the Cypherholic Jam, a B-Boy competition with individual and crew Dance-offs
Atleast a few hundred kids of all ages showed up, rearing to go..
More form Cypherholic and this story in the Next video. Coming Soon!
Dj Mr. Neill : B-Boy Mix + Dont Sweat the Technique (Groove Fellaz Remix)
Licensed under Creative Commons