In Japan it’s still real streetdance…
I started breaking around 2005. 10years ago! time passes like crazy! Starting in 2005 means that I just missed out the legendary IBE times when it was all still happening in Rotterdam, in a club called WATT. I missed out the times where people used to train outside on the streets – sometimes chased by the police because they thought dancing on public ground was inappropriate.
I did not learn how to break on the streets. I went to a dansschool and got classes from bboy SD (styles confidential crew). Now, I do not take any classes anymore but I practice in a dansstudio – het Haags Hip Hop centrum, HipHopHuis. It’s always somewhere with a roof on top.
In Japan it does not work like that! At first I was a bit staggered by the fact that in a country that brought us so many great dancers a place like a hiphop center or hiphophuis does not excist! As I understood there is no money from the government. In the Netherlands you can apply to different culture funds to get money for projects like hiphophuis.
Anyways, japanese breakers practice outside or in a trainstation. It’s allright because japan itself is a very clean country. You dont have to worry about puke from the night before or trash on the ground. The dancers take small speakers with them to play the music. (seriously, I will never ever complain again about the low music volume in hiphophuis!)
At almost every practise spot you see different groups. There are breakers on the one side and standup dancers on the other side. Dancers train together or individually.
During my trip I got to see different trainingspots around the country.
In OSAKA there is the Osaka City Airport Terminal (OCAT). If you ask me this is my favorite outside-training spot. It’s cold there and the floor is concrete but the atmosphere is really great. I think it’s because of the lightspots at night – it gives the place a mysterious touch. At this place you see dancers from for example Mortal Combat Crew, KAKB crew and Crowz Ensemble.
This video shows a little bit how the atmosphere is down there:
In TOKYO you got a place called Mizonoguchi station. This is a place where you can find bboys like Taisuke and Katsu one. When I was there, it was not really crowded. Put is differently, it was quite empty… But as I heard it is a place where lots of breakers from Tokyo hang around. There is even a crew named after this spot: Boogie down Mizonoguchi.
KYOTO – a city which shows us the traditional part of Japan – has a spot called ZEST. It is a shopping mal under the ground. After 9pm the shops close and you can practice until 00:00. Dancers from Body Carnival Crew practice here sometimes. As it is under the ground, there is no wind and therefore it is not too cold.
In HIROSHIMA they really train outside ouside – 0pposite of the “Genbaku domu” aka the Atomic Bomb Dome.The very last spot I visited: SAPPORO – a city in the North on a island called Hokkaido. Here, they train in a shoppingmal as well (LOFT shoppingmal). Sapporo gets very cold during winter. You can expect temperatures as low as -10 or even colder. Forunatly the shoppingmalls are heated very well so you can even practice with just a tshirt on.
To sum it up: almost every dancers practices outside on public spaces – it doesnt matter whether it is winter or summer. Some dancers hire a dance studio for a few hours. But you need money everytime you hire the space. I learnt from Japan that we in the Netherlands are awefully spoiled. Especially my generation and after. We have dansstudios with laminate floor, a good speaker system, heaters, mats, mirrors!
On the otherside, practising outside has something special to it. It is quite inspiring. More inspiring that a dansstudio with only a floor, mirror and that’s it. But on the bright side: we can choose whether we want to practise outside or indoors.
Next on #BREAKinJAPAN: part 4: No Bgirlwildcard