Apartheid “the state of being apart” according to the dictionary, refers to a time when, Melly Mel, fills in the details, white people and black people could not be seen together in South Africa lest they be charged for their interactions.
Okay so a little heavy. But I wanted to bring this up because you know what? The state of being apart is just ridiculous. And Bboyizm is all about togetherness.
A usually reserved Halifax audience, last night’s show felt like we were riding a roller coaster…thrill after thrill brought vocal adoration from the audience. My smile broke into a full grin when one audience member, a white haired women exclaimed “Oh My God” as Rahime “NOSB” assisted by Yvon “BBoy Crazy Smooth” torqued himself horizontally through the air landing on his feet smooth as a domesticated feline.
As Melly Mel put it, Bboyizm performs street dance on stage, sticking to their roots in a “raw and progressive” form. And it is. Raw. Dance in it it’s pure original form. When it came to a head BBoyizm was just purely engaging, with no need for explanation.
The audience cheering, the pure joy thrown across the stage sent me into a state. Nearing the end of the show I became obsessed with this idea of the mind versus the body, my mind reeling with questions about mind body connections, and how spirituality could come into play. While the 7 performers threw themselves through the air, remembering to carefully insert smaller details, hands sweeping across the stage and subtle nuances that my companion, a former BBoy himself, was wildly impressed by, my spirits were lifted. I marvelled at their chemistry. They must just get together all the time, and do, be and act as dancers with their bodies expressing themselves the way they know best.
We all have rhythmic souls, and possibly dancers forget that every human being can connect with rhythm and motion; there mustn’t always be a narrative. The story is the dancers themselves. Acting as nothing but who they are. There. The audience sensed that.
I sat on the floor before the show with Melly Mel talking with her about her history, training in South Africa in Pantsula Dance, dancing for Cirque du Soleil and how the company was formed. She was so open from the beginning but when I mentioned Crazy Smooth’s quote “we dance to express, rather than impress” she really let me in on where the company finds their inspiration. “I’m a very spiritual person” she says, “people ask me my favourite move and I can’t tell them, because when you’re in the moment, that is your favourite move.” It changes from moment to moment. It would be like describing your favourite breath.
Melly Mel tells me how she prepares back stage, breathing in seven seconds, holding seven seconds, breathing out seven seconds, holding seven seconds, seven times. I show her “The Gargoyle” crunching your face closing your eyes breathing in and then opening your mouth breathing out to open your face. We giggle about it, but after she thanks me in a most sincere way for teaching her something new.
With her program, Melly Mel inspires, she teaches children in various outreach projects through dance. Herself, curious and playful she is receptive to new experiences and grateful for them.
Her dancing comes across the same way, each movement experienced by her as if new, the younger crew members looking on at her adoringly. In the talk-back after the show one audience member admitted to crushing on all of the members of the company, I think I crushed on Melly the most for her ability to let go, inspiring me to feel dance in a completely new way.
This crushing however, is the sharing of a rhythm, that rhythm we all feel but may not always be able to express in every day language.
As I sat in my seat and witnessed this, I began to feel the “Izm” of BBoyizm. I was convinced. Move, express, feel, live, breathe. There was nothing to get. It was just movement, humanity and togetherness blooming from a sad time when people were kept from each other. As the audience applauded, standing for BBoyizm’s second ovation in two nights, I could feel that togetherness, a feeling not yet lost, yet strangely rare in our culture.
8pm Saturday/ 26 September /2015