Movement fest breaks new ground
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 06:00 am
In the galaxy of dance, a major pop culture spotlight is shining on b-boying. And various local troupes and crews keep taking it to another level.
As part of the Expanse Movement Festival, now on at the TransAlta Arts Barns, Grindstone Theatre is making its debut in b-boying with Break.
Dancer/choreographer Byron Martin, a St. Albert cultural services instructor who teaches improv and breakdance, is probably best known to audiences as an actor/singer.
But this time around the Grindstone founder was motivated to return to his teenage roots and try something new – tell a story through dynamic moves.
Back in 2001 at the age of 12, the Edmonton resident took lessons in Sherwood Park, one of the few places in the area that taught breakdancing.
“You grow up as a b-boy, and battling for supremacy is such an integral part of the scene. It’s what keeps it going,” Martin says.
Through the underground scene, he discovered a group that practiced at the University of Alberta’s Butterdome and joined them for twice weekly meets.
“When I decided to go into theatre, I chose MacEwan because of the dance element. I wanted to explore dance as well as be an actor,” he said.
In Break, Martin melds the power moves of b-boying with theatre’s narrative element.
“Our approach is to tell a story. You meet the main character. He starts to dance and becomes three parts of a breakdancer’s personality – fear, insecurity and ego. Once the main character conquers his demons, they dance as one.
Martin deliberately chose to step away from the b-boy mentality of displaying supremacy.
“I was interested in looking at the psychological battle of the b-boy. The first three things are fear of dancing, insecurity and the ego thing to prove you’re better than everyone else. I was more interested in doing creative work, in submerging into the character.”
The four breakdancers are Martin, Alan Nguyen, Sean Arceta and Adrienne Carlton.
Nguyen, the main character, is the crew’s “powerhead.”
“You see him do a lot of power moves – flares, windmills, swipes and things that make him fly through the air. Alan and I do more floor work and Adrienne, she’s more of a toprock (string of steps performed in a standing position).”
Break runs March 9 and 10 at 2 p.m. in the Westbury Theatre. Single tickets are $15. Day passes are $25 and are available at www.fringetheatreadventures.ca. For more festival information visit www.expanse.ca.