Have you ever dreamed of traveling the world? Bboy Ynot, with the given government name of Tony Denaro, gives our Step X Step representative, Mokka, an inside look at his dance, education, and goals through the following interview. Ynot is a member of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, a jack of all trades, and a visionary educator. We hope you are as inspired as we were in reading this interview!
–Tell us about your journey in Dance
Well in terms of dance I really started in 1995, but I would say I made the decision to move ahead with Breakin’ as my main focus in 1997. I think dance now has less ‘dance’ in these dances because we start off by labeling things. I can’t tell you exactly what I was doing in the mid 90’s…it was more just like moving and imitating and trying to relate to the music I was hearing.
Only in 97′ is when I started to learn more and knew what dance style I was more attracted to and learned that there is a history and foundation. Once you learn that you develop a respect for it. In terms of my journey in Breakin’, ups and downs…too many stories to mention…I met a lot of great people who’ve contributed to the b-boy I am today. Rock Steady was a mold for a lot of b-boys and I was lucky enough to get to know them personally and be heavily influenced by their philosophy and particular style.
-We have noticed you’re into other art forms as well, what else do you practice?
I live the culture. So that comes with a larger understanding and a multifaceted mind set. I am constantly around music, producing it, drawing images of what the music makes me feel, moving to it…connecting with people through expression. I just like to create. I think of something, I make it…and I’m not limited to any medium.
If there some way of expressing I don’t have the skill set for, but I think that medium is the way for me to express what is inside me at the time, I learn it to the best of my ability and I do it. Either way it gets put out, it comes from my heart and mind.
-How has your Bachelor’s degree helped you within dance or even on your artistic journey?
I have a BA in Computer Science that I completed in 2003. Design was something that came natural to me. I liked to draw and make things come to life. All my ideas with color, shape, form, etc have been influenced by my dance and vise versa. All form of art and expression is relative to me. They all feed off of each other and the more you are open and learn, the more dimension you will have in your approach.
-What helped you establish your decision in pursuing a masters degree and more specifically pursuing this degree at Arizona State University?
I love school. The resources and the people are priceless. I was at a high point in my career when I decided to step back into education. One, I think education of Urban studies needs practitioners and not only just theorists.
And two, ASU is building a very unique program and people like Melissa Britt and others are there who have great vision and passion towards arts education. I’m just excited to help build a road for up and coming artists to travel on. This is part of my give back to the things that have truly given me a voice.
-How do you think this will help you your future goals?
My goal is to show the relativity of Urban arts such as dance, writing (graffiti), spoken word and music manipulation and how these are powerful tools for creation and design for the future. I want to spark the next generation of creative thinkers who will design a healthy, prosperous and dope world for us to exist in.
People who grew up loving Hip Hop culture and can take their knowledge of that into the professional world. I’m just a catalyst, my own future as an artist myself is just to keep creating.
-In a previous interview you did with bsions.com you described yourself as “worldly”, what do you mean by this?
When I describe myself as worldly, it means I believe I have a worldly perspective. I obtained that from physically traveling the world. Not just dance events. I’ve stayed in places longer…went to places on my own to soak up the culture and environment.
I used my name to fund my journey, teaching dance classes to pay my way. I’ve gained an education doing this that no University or other experience can provide. So my take on most things in life are not usually the same as others. I view things from a worldly lens.
-We were doing some digging and heard you drop a couple of bars on Wild Out by Wildchild, tell us a little about that project?
Wildchild is a good friend of mine that I met through dancing with his son, whose name is Baby Boogaloo. We had a few conversations about music and HipHop and he called me up one day like, ‘yo, you’re one of my favorite b-boys out right now and I want you on one of my joints’. I haven’t wrote a verse to a beat in years…that was something I played around with when I was in my late teens. It was a bit of a challenge for me but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
What I can say is that it got me back with the pen and pad and I have a few music productions coming out in 2015 that were sparked from this experience! Can’t wait for these projects to surface and see what the community thinks about music.
-What is your most favorite song to sing at the top of your lungs when no one else is around?
Reasons – Earth, Wind and Fire
-Any shoutouts you wish to give???
Shout out to the world.
Instagram and Twitter: YNOTISM