January 5, 2016
The film that was shared in a previous article: “To live and Break and the Middle East” displayed the positive role that break has had on bboys and their personal lifes. Going even deeper, it gives food for thought that for some bboys it is in fact a necessity to have day-job or better yet career along side their break-life.
Most dancers in the Middle East can not live off of their art. In general, dancing is not regarded upon as a serious occupation. Not to mention the preconception surrounding Hip Hop. Then there is the fact that in many countries of that part the world there is turmoil. All reasons to come to the choice to gain alternative skills or a specific profession alongside the dream. Since it’s also very likely you will not be dancing forever. At least not on the level of your prime years. That is the harsh truth.
Even if one is successful at the moment, nothing is guaranteed especially not in the life of an artist/ athlete if you body is your instrument. For many of us the hustle (financially) has never been solely about ourselves. We take care of our families. Some want to give back to the community by organizing their own jams. This kind of scenario is common and in it’s essence a positive thing but in practicality is can be an enormous weight to carry.
If you invest in another career (although it might take you longer to become a professional dancer at the same time), you could be one step ahead of the game. You will have something to fall back on and build with.
That is not to say the utmost respect is reserved for someone who is fearless enough to take that one shot and not miss!
There are many success stories in this culture and many of them develop other skills along the way to assist in earning a descent living in additional ways like photography, filmmaking, teaching, organizing, dj-ing, webdesign, clothinglines, art etc.
However today some light is shed on dancers that have a career outside of the scene.
Meet bboy Sinbad from Legend Crew. A dancer with his roots in Oman, (one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world). Seeing him in action at World BBoy Classic Doha in 2015 it’s clear: He is serious about his craft and it shows in his performance.
In his daily life Sinbad occupies one of the Cabin Crews of Oman Air. Recently he was featured in an article that put a spotlight on the talents and hobbies of staffmembers working for the airline:
Next is this inspiring interview I conducted with bboy Amer from Jordan.
My name is Amer, I am 26 years old. My crew is Jordan Squad, from Amman (Jordan) and currently I’m residing in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
I started breaking in 2004, I always loved martial arts and dancing in general since I was a kid, but in that particular year when I saw breaking on TV, it was like an epiphany.
Actually this crew formed only when we left the country. It is like a collective of bboys from Jordan from different crews or bboys who were not in a crew yet. When we were in Jordan we already jammed and practiced together but because of life’s circumstances, some of us left the country, either to study or work. Though, we still meet up in jams in different countries, when we can. The Notorious IBE 2015 is an example.
Jordan is place where it is hard to survive. It’s a cozy place where almost everyone knows each other. The country that is trying to make peace no matter the problems that are going on in the area. The majority of the population are young people, education is very important and many are really talented with different crafts. It’s a hard place to live in, but a beautiful place.
Yes, of course. In my culture such a thing is hardly accepted. I know it is the case with most dancers anywhere but still, the Middle Eastern culture is generally conservative and such a thing is considered as negative novelty or bad influence. I faced a lot of resistance from family and friends. I was a young kid so I hardly thought of it and just kept going, I was enjoying it. Whenever someone told me: “You’re gonna stop this when you grow up, even this music you will stop listening to it.” I knew deep inside that was not going to be the case. I knew I was going to do this forever, not only dancing, but Hip Hop. The real challenge was in college, where you really get affected by society. I stopped breaking for almost 2 years, thinking it was not the right thing for me. Still, the feeling remained. It was like a calling that I needed to fulfill: A couple of events happened to me. (One that was of much importance was an audition for a theater performance by a well known French company, where I was selected with 4 dancers out of about 40 dancers). When that happened and being so inspired by the people I worked with, I knew my gut feeling was right. I knew I should go back and start over.
It was like I was reborn again and ever since, I am dancing, almost everyday. So I listened to my gut feeling and kept going, I think I broke the lock with persistence. That has shaped my whole life.
I have studied Management Information Systems in Jordan.
When did you start working for the Commercial Bank of Dubai? How did you obtain it?
I started in 2014, I just came to this country looking for jobs, I stayed for almost a month until I was lucky to find one, it’s a blessing.
How did break influence your career and vice versa how did you career influence your break-life?
They both keep influencing each other, its like two pedals of a bicycle. When I first came here it was very tough but breaking teaches you persistence. By making sure not to fall under the rule society always tells us: “that in order to succeed you have to focus only on one thing”. I kept doing what I am passionate about.
You can reach out your maximum abilities in different things if you find the intersection between them. For example, when you are training hard in your dance going up until your maximum, it trains your mind to do the same with your job. When you are in a business meeting trying to deliver an idea or respond to one, the way you put it across it is like you are in a cypher debate. Your mind will be functioning the same. It’s just a different field and atmosphere, as if you are following a certain strategy in a battle.
It’s the same for example when you are applying a new product in the market and want to win competition. It might sound like it doesn’t make sense but if you do both for some time, you will begin to see it. It makes a lot of difference, you’ll begin to view the world differently. Breaking can influence many aspects in life.
Did it also push your dreams to new heights?
Definitely. When you break the limitations, begin to reach your maximum capacities in different fields/ crafts and find something in common, your goals and experiences will reach new heights. It becomes fun. When you limit your abilities, you limit your goals. When you give up what you love, you end up like everybody else.
With the former in mind what advice would you give to young people from the Middle East in pursuit of their dreams?
I’d say hold on to what you love and do not give it up because of life’s circumstances. Many of my brothers entered the regular working life when they finished college and face a lot of difficulties: choosing between dance and pursuing a career. Especially with the culture that we live in.
I say: just keep at it, keep doing what you are passionate about and things will fall into place. Seek truth and pursue what you want for yourself.
There is an amazing perspective to look forward to: World Bboy Classic qualifier is returning to Doha, Qatar in May 2016 presented by Mighty Jokerz and Urban Roots Society!
For the narrative of this article it is relevant to understand that the organization of WBC Middle East is also an example of the same topic. As explained by bboy Hakoomy:
“Mighty Jokerz were the first ever crew to travel abroad internationally from the Middle East to the most recognized battles like IBE, WBC and Chelles Battle Pro.
It’s because I had a job and an income; it enabled the Middle East to host the World Bboy Classic.
Mighty Jokerz was the first to organize and provide real opportunities for bboys from the Middle East to win and travel to visit those battles. In the past I payed from my own account and am still doing that because I had a Job and an international career at the Marriott International .
I used to organize jams in the KFC birthday hall room in Doha (Qatar) as well in Cairo (Egypt) back in 2004 until 2006. Those where the first jams ever. When I went back to Qatar after finishing my College Degree and getting my Bachelor of Law I was able to organize the first battle in 2007. It was called “Last bboy standing”. In 2008 I started with the Gulf Coast scene and the event was called Fireworks. Bboys from Oman were the first ones to come out to attend.
In 2009 we continued with the second edition of Fireworks and it was bigger and held in West Bay’s City Center Mall. I was able to bring World Bboy Classic to Doha because I had a career that allowed me to be able to travel internationally and create the necessary network.”
Being aware that these are just a few of many examples all around the world this is meant to get the point across from another perspective, culture and lifestyle. Whatever your situation or struggle may be right now, stay empowered and be inspired by the way these artists live -their- lives. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to be. You have to find what works for you, commit to that and stay true to yourself in the process. Step x Step Dance is an interactive platform. If you are facing difficulty in any of the mentioned aspects of this article, be sure to contact us as we can most definitively connect you to someone who has been through it just the same.