I Am Powerful

by andrewmam

Just got home from a 2.5 week trip out to Europe where I spent about a week each in Sweden and Holland. Every ounce of this trip has been dedicated to dance, whether training, competing, teaching, or simply ciphering with people. I went to Master Camp just outside of Stockholm, Sweden under the tutelage of Freeze (Ghost Crew) and Poe One (Style Elements/MZK/RSF). I trained 5 days straight, 5-6 hours plus each day. I learned a lot and gain a lot of new friends. Afterwards, I went back to Holland for my second trip there, and this time around got to experience a huge bucket list item: the Notorious IBE held in Heerlen, Netherlands. It was incredible. Even though it’s a bboy event, I spent most of my time dancing to house, hip hop, funk classics, afro sounds, and more. I got to lay my soul on the floor.

What was greatly impactful was laying down my craft and style in circles amongst the best in the world. I’ve always coveted the respect of those whom I respect far more than victories in a competition, and this is something I’ve been able to accomplish throughout my career. When Steelo and Lil John give you props before you’re down with any major, legendary crew–that feels good. Really good. IBE was just the same. Exchanging with some of Europe’s best and to have them bug out on what I was producing felt good. I’m not going lie or shave off the sharing of my experience to avoid being viewed as ‘cocky’ or ‘arrogant’. I’m going to flat out say it. My craft/soul/product/dance/art is fire and embers blazed across the Atlantic.

At the same time, Sweden & IBE were very humbling experiences. In Sweden, I, for the first time, saw Javier Ninja of the House of Ninja get down. And boy, I was left in absolute shock and awe. My mouth dropped for about 5 minutes. I have not been served so large a slice of humble pie for at least 5+ years. HE’S SO FUCKING ILL!!!!!!!! DAMN he killed it and he was just having fun. I had yet to be exposed to vogueing whatsoever, and my first impression was Javier Ninja. Boom. Not only that, but the whole camp was full of straight masters of their craft as well as the hungry students. We made quite the community.

And as for IBE…well, I’ll say it this way. In the States, I stand out. There’s no question about it. I’m very different and that’s why I am the way I am and that’s why my dance career has progressed the way it has. I am connected to the music, leave my soul on the floor, am very expressive, and most definitely mix all sorts of dance styles and outside influences into my movement. This has set me apart from my peers and often I feel lonely (yet special) when I represent myself in the USA. At IBE however, with people from all around the world there, I found so many others on my exact path, doing it better than me! Especially the Eastern European and Russian cats. At first, my ego was checked: “Ahh, oh no, I’m not as special anymore, what do I do???” However, once the ego settled down, and the soul/innermost core began to connect, I realized the beauty. The movement and change of dancing around the world is an interconnected motion. No person creates absolute change. Remind (Style Elements) changed B-boying forever and is often credited, but even he will say it himself, he’s just trying to dance like Walter Johnson (209 Stockton) and Quali-D. They created a movement, and as always, one person will become a focal point or example of said movement, but it is a greater body moving it.

I am not special. I am powerful. I am powerful because I am part of something greater than myself, and that gives me both comfort and ignites even more fire within me to become better than who I was yesterday. I’m feeling inspired and am looking to sustain this inspiration. These are words flowing from a stream of consciousness. A pretty awesome one that I like, called my own. Forever tuned in, forever creating.

I am powerful.