Johnny-Walker Bien-Aime began dancing solo in 1994 and went on to dance with the Montreal Tactical Crew beginning in 1996. The group collaborated with Dubmatique, Outkast and The Fugees and then participated, beginning in 2001, in the Montreal Highlights Festival, the Francofolies de Montreal and the Just for Laughs Festival. In 2004, the artist collaborated in Solstrom, a TV show created by the Cirque du Soleil. He also took part in Extreme Rotation, a scientific exhibition held at Montreal's Science Centre. A year later, the dancer went on tour with Solid State, a dance group, before being chosen in 2007 to attend a prestigious camp in Texas, where he received theoretical and practical dance training. Since then, Johnny-Walker Bien-Aime, a talented artist, has participated in Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations, collaborated with Eloize Circus and performed in the PHHP show, directed by choreographer Victor Quijada.
The objective of the workshop is to make breakdance and its origins better known by paying special attention to the music, which holds a key place in hip hop culture, to which breakdance belongs. Since improvisation and personal expression are a major part of breakdancing, students will be encouraged to participate in the creative process, whether this is their first time breakdancing or they are looking to perfect their style. The artist favours an interactive approach that calls on what young people already know and that invites them to set their body in motion. Depending on the chosen formula, the workshop can be geared more to theory or to practice, by focusing on breakdance or hip hop culture as a whole. The level of difficulty is adapted to students’ needs. The workshop can also deal with putting on a show, from the initial concept to the final performance.
Introduction to breakdance
The activity begins with a theoretical review of the history of breakdancing and its pioneers. Students then learn about the peculiar lexicon that has developed around this dance form: what is a windmill, a turtle, a freeze or a backspin? The notion of "freestyle" is also explained as is the entire process leading to the creation of the students’ own style, with examples. Students will be invited to move to the rhythm of the music.
The first image that spontaneously comes to mind when talking about breakdance is that of an athletic dancer, holding still, his whole body resting on a single hand, or spinning on his head. These are known as "power moves". In order to avoid getting injured while performing these impressive figures, a stretching and warm-up session is held, followed by some moves and sequences.
How to create a show
Once the basic moves have been mastered, some meaning needs to be given to them. Students will learn how the choreography can convey a message or be designed according to a precise theme. Notions of movement, phrasing and acting are also part of this workshop, as are questions related to the choice of music and costumes.
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