Hip hop is not just an art form, it’s a lifestyle – is the motto of Bengaluru’s premier breaking crew – Black Ice Crew. Paving the way for the hip-hop community in the city and country as well, the leading dance crew has performed at major festivals and events across the world! In addition to this, they also offer workshops and hip hop jam sessions every weekend to encourage and help spread the hip hop culture in the city.
Founded by Likith Achaiah and Naser Al Azzeh, the troupe which started off with five members has now expanded to 15! “I just thought it was better to work with a whole crew rather than solo as it’s nice to have people with similar interests motivating you,” Naser says, adding, “My sister used to listen to hip hop music and I think that’s where my love for the genre grew — I realised it was so much more than music. And initially, my parents were cool — they were glad I could dance and entertain the family. But when I started skipping school to attend events and participate in competitions, they realised I was serious,” says the 26-year-old who prefers to freelance rather than stick to a 9-5.
The community which seems to be growing at a steady pace, is obviously more challenging than mainstream dance. “When we founded the crew as hip hop was the cool new thing,” explains Likith who has represented the country at a competition in Germany, with Naser. “As a kid, my dad used to make me do headstands and handstands, and I never thought it would be of any use until I started dancing!” he exclaims. “Bollywood and other industries are picking up on it, which is garnering a lot of attention, and getting people interested in the form,” adds the 25-year-old Likith.
While dance was always a priority for some, others happened to get into it just by chance! “I was never the type to go for classes. But I attended a competition and was instantly drawn to the dance,” says Johana Rodriguez, a female member of the crew.
“The dance form is not particularly hard once you get the hang of it,” the 20-year-old says. Being one of the very few girls in the crew, is she greeted with an awkward response when she tells people she’s into hip hop? “I do get a weird reaction but it’s not something I care about as hip hop is still growing and is not taken as seriously as classical dance forms,” she concludes.