Light Handed

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Bio: Andrew Tevuth Mam aka A-Game

Born in San Jose, CA to refugee parents that had escaped from the Cambodian genocidal regime of the 1970s, A-Game (birth name Andrew Tevuth Mam) was raised with the daunting directive of why he was here on this planet — “You are unbelievably, miraculously lucky to even be alive, let alone in the United States of America, now what on earth will you do to give that Life Karma back, and then some?”

Did he find an answer yet? Hell No.

But small steps climb the way to the mountain top. 

A natural leader in his formative years excelling through his education, A-Game never relinquished his attachment to the necessity of expression–a necessity born from a trans-generational trauma and sensitivity unique to his family. Taking these elements and forging them through academic study of movement artforms, philosophy, as well as a UC Berkeley education, A-Game developed an original style over the last 12 years that has gained him acclaim around the world.

His style has been described as “organic”, “authentic”, “raw”, “divisively creative”, and as “the most interesting person to watch in the room”. While placed by most on the far progressive end of the street dance spectrum, he has always viewed himself as a traditionalist student of the various urban danceforms, namely B-boying (breakdancing). A-Game is E.O.T.O. certified by his direct mentor, the globally coveted dance legend and teacher, Poe One, deeming him proficient in instructing the history and technique of B-boying. Under the guise of a Senior’s Thesis unrelated to his major, A-Game traversed the world and interviewed some of hip hop culture’s most intriguing entrepreneurs, thinkers, dancers, and innovators, seeking answers and uncovering greater questions along the way.

For the last 3 years, he has traveled with his ‘Dig Deep’ workshops instructing students on the application of various of his philosophical concepts, creative practices, and the importance of knowledge and utilizing history as a powerful, personal tool. He’s co-organized one of California’s best b-boy jams of the past decade and has separated himself as a writer and thinker in a highly physical field. What has separated him from his peers has been his ability to articulate complex ideas, something developed as an MC/Poet and student leader in his youth.

From being invited as an instructor & speaker at Universities to winning some of the nation’s biggest battles to being inducted into one of the most legendary b-boy crews of all time, A-Game has accomplished much for a young man breaking into his adult life. Gaining experience as an actor and dabbling as a model have been critical to his development as an artist and performer, but even more salient has been returning to his daunting life directive, “What will you do with the time you are given on this Earth? How will you be a light for others, and for yourself?”

And in so searching, he learned that one does not seek the light, they must be it. He goes on without his answer, but at the very least in possession of a damn good question.

Hybrid Crew since 2006
Style Elements Crew since 2011

Based in Los Angeles/Bay Area

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I Am Powerful

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.

A

Beaming

3:23pm Monday 6/17/2013

This is it. We here now. The weekend is upon us. I imagine in years time, possibly even next year, moments like these won’t exist in such a large, consuming manner anymore. But right now, this feels pretty big. Granted, yes, there is the Style Elements Anniversary weekend coming and I just want it to be the shit for everyone. We’ve done a great job marketing it IMO, now it’s just time for the follow through. On a personal level though, I have a final exam for Spanish this Weds that I am not prepared for!!! I am taking Spanish 4 at the moment and boy, it was easier in April and May but right now I’m buggin. What’s crazy is that the exam is on Weds, and everyone starts to arrive on Thursday, the event will last me through until Monday, and my final Oral Exam for Spanish is Next Weds. I will be doing my oral presentation on this event lol. 

Image

I have come to terms with my possible grade, but honestly, I just want to pass and be done with school forever. In the future, sure, I may have the heart for school again, but right now, I’m just trying to be done. That Senior Thesis I wrote (2012) wiped me out in many regards and I am feeling it. 

Yeesh. I am getting the stress bug. These are the moments of proving myself, to myself. That I am as awesome I manifest myself to be. That my relationship with the universe and higher consciousness allows me to beam my light into the world. Time to shine. 

Is it different now?

It’s 4 long weeks since Massive Monkees day and I haven’t danced since…well, I went out like once or twice, entered a jam on the 28th, and taught a private lesson yesterday, but no practice whatsoever. And truthfully I feel a little crazy! I’m watching old footage of myself and trying to remember the state of mind I was in. 

There was this one battle, in August 2010, against a friend of mine Roe from Headhunters. It was an all-styles exhibition battle at Voodoo Lounge between two of San Jose’s finest. I watched my last round, and tried to put myself back in those shoes. I had just returned from my Euro backpack trip, and earned stripes at the Style Elements Anniversary (a year before I got into the crew). But the part that stuck out to me most was the use of the hybrid third eye handshake/signal at the end…only Hybrid cats would know what that is lol. 

It used to be so spiritual to me…everything was about opening the third eye and letting myself get free. That’s where this style came from, openness. Is it different now? I still feel free when I dance, but maybe I don’t value it as much anymore. I wonder if that’s an effect of getting older. I was just turning 21 that year in 2010. And now I’m 24, graduate(d), and about to move into the professional world. Is it fear of losing touch with the purity I used to chase, and even sometimes arrogantly claim? 

Perhaps I must practice in my actions more than in my words my commitment to the spiritual path of a dancer like myself. I was never groomed to be a perfect, clean bboy/dancer. I was raised by circumstance, privilege, mentors, and a thirst of knowledge to translate into my own life because doing so felt good…I feel so overwhelmed nowadays that my thirst isn’t as prevalent. I don’t feel it dance-wise because of how spread thin I am. Damn, I need to meditate more. I feel a bit lost because I have not made the time to cultivate that important side of myself. It also could be that I just haven’t been dancing…and I’m going nuts because of it. Dang. 

This post has no conclusions, maybe when I edit it. I’m flowing with a stream of consciousness and that’s it. 

Protected: Style Elements 19th Year Anniversary

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Elli Ingram – Poetic Justice (Prod. Felix Joseph & Rudi Redz)

Dayum. British. Again. Come on. Ooowee. Tammyzhu on Youtube coming through again and again.

Strange times bring you back to places like these.
You know, places like this white blank; background a
hollowed space filled with thoughts lingering,
the sole desire to fill in the voids in time
When everything doesn’t seem to add up.

Watching
the series of events unfolding before me
as I settle into being back in my own city.

Unexpressed manhood, the bubbling frustration.
At the club, I thought I was supposed to see bubbly,
but all I see are bubbles in their blood as it drips from their lips.
The standing man takes one shot to the dome
to pay for boots bloody mary’d on another man’s face;
You pray no man will shake the shooter
in this scene so palpable you have to swallow.

She screams because her friend has stumbled
her protection effective as group grinding on the dance floor.
But her yells don’t penetrate the chatter–

the sounds are too loud in this place.

The walls of young mens’ minds filled with soundtracks
scored by trap dreams and dreams
of being trapped.
Her friend cannot get up
after rhythmic stomping
so she, in a split second,
decides her night on a kamikaze.

She gets thrown to the ground.
and I see him, staking his shot.
No honor, no manliness, no machismo.
No value, no reward, no real power.
Just bubbly, burning, blood.
He sprints 10 feet across the floor,
and sucker punches her, launching her from atop her feminine heels
to the ground where gender apparently doesn’t matter anymore.
Her stumbled friend still laying bloody on the ground.

This takes me beyond monkey’d madness,
alpha silverbacks testing iron resolve.
This is only a violence man can create,
that soaks its roots in emotional frailty.
Reminding me of the city I saw growing up.
Many boys who just need to be held.

Disclosure – Boiling ft. Sinead Harnett (Joe Kay’s Afterhours Vibe)

This music is healing. This music makes me reappreciate all the going out and partying and crazy stuff we get into, not just the peaks of the night, but that shared come down you have with your close friends. The drives home at sunrise, the hotel room sitdown, the conversations of stupidity and grand realization. Moments in time.

Matter of fact I just had one of those weekends this past one with some kindred souls from LA/SD/the Bay. So blessed. So much love. Enjoy.

Capski – Canopy of Stars w/ Low Leaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge’s showcase much? Maybe :] I’m a sucker for female vocals, broken beat, and atmospheric chords. Ooowee soundcloud was gracious to me this afternoon.