Bboyizm, one of Quebec’s premier street dance companies will jump, flip, lock and pop its way onto the Arden Theatre stage Saturday, March 4.
Founded by Crazy Smooth (aka Yvan Soglo), Bboyizm is on tour showcasing In My Body, 60 minutes of dazzling break-dance moves and hip-hop tricks. Adding to the multi-media extravaganza are personal stories and DJ Shash’U’s original music.
But the show is more than jaw-dropping choreography and hypnotic music. It features a multi-generational cast of nine, who while battling to establish dominance, deal with the serious theme of aging and how it is perceived by different individuals.
Crazy Smooth spent more than 30 years learning moves, teaching students, founding a dance company and developing innovative choreography.
“The inspiration for In My Body came from my own experiences and being at the point I was in. On one side you look at youth and how they dance, and on the other side you look at the elders. I found myself in the middle going towards being older, and realized I couldn’t do what I did in my twenties,” said Smooth.
“I asked people about their experiences and collected stories about aging as a street dancer. People in youth have a lot of energy, the sky’s the limit, and there are endless possibilities. The elders have experience youth don’t have and dancers my age are the bridge between the two.”
During his interviews, Smooth noticed the timeline between a dancer’s age and their inner spirit’s energy did not always mesh. As ideas for the show solidified, it became an example of how perspectives evolve and change over time.
“Everyone had a different perspective. Some OGs (older generation) felt they were doing their best dancing even though they weren’t as physically capable. There was a liberation in not caring what other people think. And for others, if they couldn’t do it the same way as when they were younger, there was no point. It was like death to an artist.”
While youth became symbolic of energy and vitality, the OG’s provided an element of stability and direction.
“My generation is the bridge that offers balance between the two. It shows we can’t function without each other and has a greater message to give the audience.”
Born in Benin, West Africa, Yvon Soglo immigrated to Canada in 1984 when he was three years old. As an adolescent he watched the power of Michael Jackon’s slick moves in Thriller. Watching videos, he copied urban dance moves and joined cyphers (free-style dance jams held in a circle).
After attending a Rock Steady Crew anniversary in 1998, he was inspired by the prestigious crew’s live performance to excel at street dancing and reinvent hip hop culture. By 2006, his crew won the Kings of New York trophy for Best Urban Dance.
“It was a proud achievement. I always wanted to be respected in the birthplace of street dance.”
Despite the show’s explosive battles, In My Body’s main message is simple.
“We can’t exist without each other. It doesn’t matter where on the timeline you are. We all have a role to play.”
Tickets start at $40. Visit www.tickets.stalbert.ca.