On May 6th Stefani went on a trip halfway around the world, from Amsterdam to Doha (Qatar). Some might consider it a bit of a stretch for a first trip outside of Europe but rest assured, it’s not. Hakoomy, one the organizers of World BBoy Classic (who upon our meeting at IBE 2014) has since supported everyone of her projects with SXSTV and has a solid connection to Holland. Therefore it was only natural to respond in a similar way.
The attraction to the Middle East has been there since being a teenager. One that unfortunately has still been left unexplored undefined because of limiting circumstances. Which is why now it a blessing to discover it through the power of Hip Hop. Lastly- and this is the most important reason- in the current landscape of worldly affairs any project that connects people on a basic level is of enormous value. In fact, it is a responsibility of a conscious individual.
For some people traveling is normal because of their jobs or family that live across the world but for others, it is very unique and a great milestone that is not taken for granted.
The capital Doha is definitely an eye catcher. Right before the landing there is amazing view from the plane of the Persian Gulf and the city’s shoreline while there is still daylight. It’s quite unique how an entire city emerged out of a desert. While driving to the hotel nightfall set in so of course some pictures of the skyline are being snapped. You can breath easy (make no mistake, the heat was intense). It feels like a spacious environment whether that’s because of the sea or an illusion due to the immense skyscrapers.
Unfortunately there was too little time to visit the branch campuses of Education City which consists of Six American universities, one British and one French university. Very impressive facts. Leaving without visiting the Museum of Islamic Art however, was not an option. Very impressive building and content. You will be catapulted into another era.
It is surreal to go where the mind had envisioned to go. That feeling is being magnified when the rain starts very subtly the day after, while visiting the old market. Everyone seems to look for shelter but why not walk into the middle of the street.. Water does not scare Dutch people. Besides, how many times does one experience desert-rain?
Mighty Jokerz Crew and Urban Roots Society are an amazing group of individuals. SXSTV is very adamant in educating young dancers that even though Youtube is a vital part of the present day scene, there is only so much you can learn from it if you are trying to develop or evolve.
Hip Hop is in the events, workshops, communities. It’s in the sharing and seeing a move with your own eyes. Running into new people who give you an insight you never would come to on your own.
Getting recognized for something from somebody on the other side of the world. The chance to ask that ONE question to your inspiration, face to face. That is what shapes and changes a person and their craft. The answer is always contained in the journey itself, not the destination.
The Mighty Jokerz are a diverse group of bboys with very different cultures and professions, yet so similar and close solely because of breaking. It’s no wonder they are successful in creating the World BBoy Classic Qatar for the fourth year in a row! Team work truly makes the dream work.
Keyz (Freemindz- France), Sonic (Natural Effects Crew- Colombia) and Skychief (The Ruggeds-Netherlands) give improvised workshops in the House of Wow. We arrive at a very discrete looking building from which you would never guess what goes on behind the walls; Graffiti, beatboxing, DJ-ing and multiple spaces to practice for dancers!
Leave it to DJ Mr Tee to set the tone for the evening with some funky Eastern flavored breaks. The people quickly gather around the cyphers and started taking footage from the first and second floor. There is a genuine curiosity from the public to witness the rawness that was clearly in big contrast with the shiny shopping mall.
In the presence of the Dutch ambassador the qualifier is opened by the unmistakable voice and presence of Tamer Urs and some very interesting rounds unfold.
One round features the Supreme White Camel Crew. It’s amazing how this scene produces people that are just as skilled in shooting footage as they are in another element. Tony goes from killing it behind the camera one second, to killing it on the floor, the next. Big shout out to him and his partner Hammody. The rounds of bboy Sinbad and Darky Flow from Oman are highly enjoyable. Great level and passion for the dance. Many of the younger bboys really bring the heat. They exhibit some intricate moves and freezes, extremely well executed. The future looks bright! It means the youth is being taught decently. Check out the recap of Prodance TV by Johhny Something & Chico Ramirez.
Bboy Jaad and Lil Salah the youngest members of the Mighty Jokerz crew end up winning the qualifier. With stamina and style the judging rules in their favor over worthy opponents Omar and Hamza (Xtremer Crew). The winners are traveling to the Netherlands to compete in the final of World BBoy Classic during E-moves festival on June 6th 2015.
Breaking in the Middle East is definitely different, perhaps ‘exotic’ still. It’s visible in the dancers. There is a uniqueness in their style most likely because of their roots and distinct connection to music. Moreover, they are still hungry. Consider that the bboys who compete and attend World BBoy Classic have very diverse nationalities. Ranging anywhere from Qatar, Iraq, Morocco, Libya, Libanon, Syria, Oman, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine etc. That means some journey many miles to arrive to this quality event. Bboys from the Middle East simply don not have the same opportunities or choices as in the West. Good events and iconic dancers are very accessible In Europe and USA and in some ways those dancers do not grasp their fortunate position.
It’s pleasure meeting people with such a diverse backgrounds (in and outside of the scene) considering expats comprise over more than 85 % of the total population in Qatar. All of the dancers are very genuwine and humble. Although the visit is brief it is sufficient enough to leave with a hunger for more. This is just the start of exploring and supporting Hip Hop culture in the Middle East.
Listen what Sonic (Natural Effects Crew) has to say about the event and his experiences in Qatar, right after the battle:
(Sidenote: Qatar is approximately 77 % Islamic)
Whatever it is that YOU wish for, believe that you can and work towards it, everyday. If you have the conviction to chase your dreams and keep them alive, even through the hard times, they can and will unfold right in front of your eyes.
Step X Step Dance would like to thank Mighty Jokerz Crew, 45-Live (Tyrone and Paul) and Tamer from Urban Roots Society. A special thank you to the personnel of the Marriott Marquis hotel for a wonderful stay. We are very appreciative to all the dancers sharing from their lives. Choukran Hakoomy once again for your hospitality, the exchange and company of family and friends. It is our pleasure to continue to build with you and your team.
Great to see you all return in June 2015 for #WBC and in August for www.thenotoriousibe.com
2016 will mark 5 years of World BBoy Classic Qatar! Next edition will be a celebration, start making your plans!
For more information: www.worldbboyclassic.com
To get involved in the community of Qatar or the region visit:
For official footage visit Prodance TV
Photos by Zah Ra
Official aftermovie coming soon provided by www.antoineschirer.fr