Learning to Break is about much more than moves and rhythm. When we teach students this dance we are teaching lessons that will, hopefully, stay with them throughout their lives. This has always been our goal at The Bboy Factory. While building strong dancers, we also strive to empower the youth by developing character and discipline that will add value to their lives far beyond the dance.
Breakin offers a platform to face adversity. Whether it's the internal discomfort of expressing oneself in front of others or the more direct confrontation of an opponent, this dance imposes challenges on all who strive to learn it. As teachers and mentors, we are not merely teaching steps or moves, we are preparing our students to stand on the line across from their opposition. The tradition of Breakin lies in this confrontation. Learning to summon our internal strength and face the challenge head on is a more powerful lesson than any dance move can ever be.
Today, we all face a challenge the likes of which many of us have never experienced before. Our opponent has paralyzed much of the world. We are called to sit home, isolated from our communities and families. Many of us are unable to work and have run into financial uncertainty. We are called upon to act, paradoxically, through inaction. This is a difficult time.
Imagine the life a child. Their sense of normalcy and security has been stripped away. They are forced to give up their to urge run and play. We ask ourselves as teachers, what can we do to prepare them for a future that will likely test them again. Will learning a 6 step give them resiliency to face hardships gracefully? Will learning a freeze help them process their grief? We are all certain to be confronted by the loss of people close to us and many may be taken too soon. We are also grieving the lives that we all knew as “normal.”
I have been struggling with these questions. The greatest self worth I have known, has come from providing value to the lives of others. Today more than ever, I ask myself, “what can the Bboy Factory do to help in this time of crisis?” Perhaps by example I might display our ability as humans to make a conscious decision to move forward. No matter what life throws us, we can always fight back… or we can surrender. Either way, we make that choice.
In these weeks, we have experienced astonishing resiliency. As we host virtual classes, we see into the homes and lives of students and witness so much that we never get to see in the studio. We get to see people in their own space, their families watching, their dogs running through the dance floor or young siblings wanting to join in. We see each others humanity in a way we don’t in the studio, and it is beautiful. In the same manner we allow our students into our lives and our homes. At a time we may feel isolated and separated we are actually sharing so much vulnerability.
I’ve always believed the vulnerability of an artist is their greatest strength. It is often what scares us more than anything, more than any opponent or stage. But here we are, together, looking into each others lives, maintaining a discipline and working towards a better version of ourselves. While there is much to be upset about in this moment, this connection has given me something I will forever be grateful for. I remind myself of that every single day. It is truly my hope, that we can give that back to each of our students.
To be completely honest, I didn’t want to write this blog. After reading article after article about this pandemic, it was the last thing I wanted to write about. At the beginning of the year I had set a goal to publish two blogs a month. Today I didn’t want to, because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. But here it is.
I’m not certain if it is even a coherent piece. But these are my thoughts as a mere dance teacher in a time of global pandemic. Here is my strength and my vulnerability in the face of adversity. To stay the course and overcome the obstacles we are all facing. Here is my gratitude for every person who has joined us online or in the studio over these past several years. We will continue to press forward, to teach this dance and so much more.
To everyone who has supported us in this difficult time, we are forever in your debt. Be strong, be well and keep pushing.