Mumbai: The B-boy who crossed over for dance battle
How a Dish TV technician from Mankhurd will represent India at the world finals of this dance form
Winners never quit, quitters never win; and Ramesh Anand Yadav aka B-boy Tornado is a living embodiment of that maxim. After facing initial rejection when he started off as a breaker (the technical term for a break dancer), seven years later, the 21-year-old has now emerged victorious in Red Bull BC One Cypher India 2019, the country's premier B-boying competition held last weekend. It qualifies him to represent the nation at the World Finals in November, which will be held in Mumbai. We speak to Yadav post his win.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
How did your journey as a B-boy begin?
I belong to the slums. And when we have birthday parties or weddings in our neighbourhood in Mankhurd, there is always a DJ invited to play, with B-boys dancing to the music. That inspired me to take up dancing. I was 14 back then, but when I met these dancers and said that I want to learn from them, they gave me a whack and shooed me away. They weren't interested in teaching me. But there is a big gutter near my house, across which these B-boys would practise. And for one straight month, I stood on the opposite side of that nullah and copied all their moves after following them with keen attention. Finally, one day, they asked me to cross the gutter, and told me, 'Aa jao, tumko bhi sikhate hain.' That's how it all began.
Yadav (extreme right) with the Flying Machine crew
What do you think are some of the problems that the B-boying community in India faces?The first thing is that the government here does nothing to support us. If, say, the authorities sponsor foreign trips for B-boys and B-girls, a lot can happen since we will learn from the best, and people abroad will realise that our country has a breaking community as well. Or, the government could also help us with the events we organise locally. The underground jams we host attract 500 to 600 members and cost us around '65-70,000, including payments for winners, judges and renting the hall. But if the authorities put in that money, we can make the events even bigger and call judges from other countries, who would give the locals a perspective on the scene abroad.
The second thing is that people in India still don't know that breaking is a form of dancing. They think it's a stunt form. And even if you see reality shows, you'll find emcees who say that a participant will perform B-boying along with his or her dance routine, which indicates that they, too, have the same misconception.
What are some things that you find encouraging about the B-boying community?
The people who are part of it are all really peaceful. We are always training one another and there is a real sense of community. We have underground battles, and it's only during the course of one that we consider each other enemies. But as soon as it finishes, we are all friends once again.
B-boy Tornado is declared the winner
Where does your crew practise?
I'm part of a crew called Flying Machine, and we practise in the underground portion within Juinagar station in Navi Mumbai. It's a local train station, but nobody ever comes to that section, which gives us the privacy we need.
What's your long-term plan with dancing?
I want to be a B-boy all my life. I've lost my father, and am on my own. I have a day-job as a technician who does Dish TV fittings for households. I haven't made any definite plans, and am now just going to pursue both my job and dancing. But the aim is to travel abroad and take part in international competitions to improve myself as much as I can.
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