Any Hip Hop educator knows the term “each one teach one”. It is a core principle of Hip Hop culture. The idea is that we are each responsible for handing down the lessons we’ve learned to the following generation. Thus, the elements are passed down from one generation to the next with generosity and love (sometimes tough love).
But what does “each one teach one” mean in today’s era of Breakin’ studios? How do we maintain a genuine purpose and preserve an authentic version of the culture when teaching becomes a business? These are questions I’ve thought long and hard about. The Bboy Factory started as a business of passion, with very little focus on making money. However, it became quickly obvious that only a profitable business could sustain the studio for years and years to come.
Over the past seven and a half years we have taught hundreds of students to dance. Perhaps three dozen of those have taken it seriously enough to become involved in the culture, beyond the safety of The Bboy Factory. Those students motivate us to keep doing what we do. When a kid comes in to take class, it is challenging to know if he is going to take this practice seriously or if it is just a passing curiosity. A part of “each one teach one” is identifying the students who really want it and giving our energy to them.
We provide a thorough education of the history of this dance, its place in Hip Hop culture and the foundational techniques that become the tools for creativity. However, the most important piece of the equation is inspiration. Inspiration is the spark of energy that pushes a student to study more, practice harder and devote themselves to getting better. It is the motivation to become the serious student we are looking for.
In an attempt to inspire students we have brought many world class dancers to teach workshops and “master classes” at The Bboy Factory. Teachers from all over the country and globe have traveled here, providing a rare and special opportunity for students. This can also be a challenge, because sometimes youth value what’s currently popular and fail to recognize the importance of reverence and tradition. Often the "popular" teacher has more students than the true “master”. That being said, we have stuck to our beliefs and brought in dancers who have earned years and even decades of respect.
We’ve been honored with support and endorsements from some of the biggest names in Breakin’. We believe that reflects the quality they see in our efforts to teach this dance. Mr. Wiggles from the legendary Rock Steady Crew is one of the biggest names in the Hip Hop dance world. He has taught twelve workshops at our studio. You can find him in high demand in Asia and Europe, but he has been generous to make time to return to our studio again and again.
New York City icon, Kwikstep, has taught at The Bboy Factory four times. He was a key dancer to maintaining the dance in the 80’s and early 90’s before Breakin’s resurgence. He has taught many of the most famous Bboys in the world, including Storm, Skill Methodz, Phaze II, Boogie Brats and Colorado’s own Lordz of Finesse.
Zulu Gremlin is another Rock Steady Crew member from the late 80’s early 90’s to have taught several times at our studio. He was a co-founder of the legendary Bboy Pro Am in Miami. Alien Ness, the president of Mighty Zulu Kings, has also taught in our studio. Former Rock Steady Crew Vice President and world famous Ken Swift has taught. Many 90’s California icons such as Paulski, Iron Monky, Crums, Stuntman, Artson, Wicket, Quali-D and Profo One have all shared their knowledge with us.
Other iconic and influential Bboys from that same era have taught us, such as Remind, who has taught twice at the studio, Wicked and Smoke from Phaze II, Red Bull BC One Allstar Ronnie, power move innovator Ronnie Ruen, Nasty Ray, Venum and Casper. We’ve had Texas icons from the legendary Havikoro crew teach. Lil John has taught once at The Bboy Factory and Moy has taught three times.
Many of today’s best have also come to share with us. Widely considered the best Toprocker of our generation, Rock Steady Crew icon Ynot has taught twice. Another world famous Toprock specialest Whacko has taught twice. Eddie Styles has taught Toprocks and Footwork at The Bboy Factory. Stripes from Flipside Kings, two time World Champion and Red Bull BC One Allstar, Victor has taught, along with BC One Allstar and one of the most winning bboys of all time Roxrite, who has shared at the studio twice. The world famous Thesis has taught.
We’ve also had many international guests come teach. Benny Kimoto of the Flying Steps shared with us. Niek of The Ruggeds taught a workshop in support of Breakin’ Convention. Red Bull BC One Allstar and two time World Champion, Menno taught a workshop along with Red Bull BC One Allstar Neguin. Of course our close friend and icon from Rivers Crew in Korea, Born has taught three times at The Bboy Factory.
That brings us to the dancers who have spent even more time teaching at our studio. One of the best Rockers in the world, Rob Nasty, taught weekly for nine months. Founder of Bboy Summit and No Easy Props, former Rock Steady Crew member and current member of the Mighty Zulu Queens, Asia One, has taught regularly for over 3 years at the studio. And, of course, our brother and Hip Hop legend, Ivan the Urban Action Figure has taught so many times over the past several years we have lost count.
We’ve even had some of the biggest names in other styles come teach at The Bboy
Factory. Rennie Harris, Emiko Sugiyama, RandM, Pandora, Ill Kosby, Henry Link, Brian Green, Salah, Caleaf, Antoinette Gomis and Femme Fatale have all taught workshops in our studio.
While this list of teachers is expansive and truly historic for our Colorado “scene” we still feel like there is more to be done to inspire and teach our students. “Each one teach one” is not merely teaching the moves of the dance or the history. It goes deeper than that. I believe “each one teach one” is my responsibility to empower and give the next generation a creative voice the same way this dance did for me.
As teachers we learn so much from our students and through teaching. What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what my students win or how “popular” they are in the “scene”. What matters is that they are capable and ready to go confidently into the dance community, so that they are prepared to pass down the lessons again to another generation after them.
I am proud of all the incredible names who have come and taught at our studio. I am even more proud of my students who are now teaching today. Seven years ago, my student Ryan came into the studio completely new to the dance. He didn’t know a Toprock, a six step or a freeze. With years of hard work he became an incredible dancer. He took so many of those workshops and “master” classes mentioned above. Today he is teaching our Kids classes and passing on all the lessons he learned. Although he is not “famous” (yet) he is passing down everything he has learned from all those big names.
Ultimately, I’ve learned that a student is never too young or too new to the dance to start sharing. Even more inspiring than a famous dancer coming to share at our studio is when a young student sees another awesome dancer their own age and realizes that they too are capable of learning this challenging dance. This summer our kids team has done several performances in the Denver Community. After each show we’ve invited kids in the audience to come up and learn some moves and let our young kids teach their peers. That is “each one teach one” too. That is the confidence and the power kids feel by learning and sharing this dance. It is the motivation that answers all the questions of how to stay authentic and genuine in our efforts to pass down this dance for the right reasons.