Remember our Poster boy for AMUSE – Tueetor’s A Most Unusual Subject Entry Facebook and Instagram contest? In an exclusive face2face interview with Bboy Style-Roc (or in everyday circles he’s known as Ivan Ng), Ivan shared with us some inspiring and eye-opening details on how he started out breakdancing and why he’s still doing it after chalking up years of competitive experience. As a bboy who is successfully juggling between a full-time job, breakdancing and teaching breaking, we are in absolute awe that Ivan’s able to do it all. Our Business Manager Ling was able to catch 15 minutes with Ivan.
Why breakdance? What inspires you to want to do breakdance?
In a nutshell, Rivers crew from Korea; I first saw this crew back in 2006. They were a stand-out crew winning many championships due to their uniqueness. They were using a style different from others. They brought back foundation, putting their own spirit into it and making bboy-ing as stylishly as their own. I was inspired to emulate their way of success.
What would you say was the most challenging aspects of breakdance?
The most challenging is physical fitness. Breakdancing does not only involve strength but stamina too. The difference between hip hop and breakdancing is that, breakdancing is like a sprint, a powerful dynamic short type of dance while hip hop is a like a marathon, progressing steadily.
My favourite challenge is to join competitions pitting my Breakdance style with another in a duel to see whose skills stand out. Of course when you win, it is enjoyable but when you’re defeated, it’s not. Handling defeats are at times challenging because u may just be one mistake away from winning the championship or getting into the finals.
If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons learned would you have given to your “younger” self?
Paying more attention to my diet and doing more strength training. I was not at all conscious about what I put into my body. The food I ate did not give me enough nutrients needed for my body to grow or progress in terms of fitness aspect. Hence there were many times I did not have enough strength and fitness to take my dance beyond a trajectory that I desire.
If you could give aspiring breakdancers ONE piece of advice, what would that be?
Diet and lifestyle. It’s so important as it is a simple, basic aspect of life. Treat it as an athletic sport. If your body does not obtain enough beneficial nutrients, it will not work to its optimum standard. And definitely, stay away from cigarettes and alcohol too. This is one thing I as a trainer, will strongly advocate.
What was the most memorable experience you had when you competed?
Winning my first championship back in my poly days. Going up to the finals when we nearly got eliminated at qualifying rounds. Giving your best and more against an opponent more reputable than yourself. The support given to us from our supportive friends and families played a huge part too.
We won our first championship in an inter-school breakdancing competition. An annual competition organized by Fuyo, a Singapore Breakdance crew. It was such an immense honour and experience representing my school Temasek Polytechnic.
Also, what’s your biggest takeaway from teaching breakdance, especially to young kids?
I take a lot of pride from seeing how they improve their physical fitness and gaining confidence to do difficult moves and able to remember the steps I taught them. It’s such a heart-warming sight to see the kids reacting passionately giving me high-fives or even hugging me when they managed to do a difficult move or complete a dance routine.
What would you say to parents who think breakdancing is too much of a “health” hazard for their kids to learn? How would you pitch yourself, as a trainer in this genre?
Breakdancing is not a health hazard. Treat it as a normal sport where we need to progress steadily to improve oneself. It’s a dance form that requires fitness as well as finesse too. There might be some risks involved compared to other dance forms, but even ballet has risks like injuries such as ankle sprains or joint sprains. Me as a trainer who have trained quite a number of kids, I do know when to stop and assess if a kid is ready to progress, and attempt more difficult moves.
If you want your kid to stand out, allowing them to first have something they can be truly proud of, and gain confidence being in centre stage, breakdance is for him (or her!). I can build these soft skills and translate these values for them, especially in their future lives.
Breakdance requires true values. You will need a lot of determination, perseverance and discipline. These are all important traits in our lives – be it when it comes to studying or when you start working in society.
What are some last words/pro tips you can give to our Breakdance wannabes?
When you have hit the wall, you have 2 options, keep banging on the wall to create a breakthrough or create a door somewhere else. Don’t let the wall be a barrier to your progression. Success can come in different ways and methods. I may not have the best skills and fitness level in the Breakdance scene, but I did not let these limitations stopped me from progressing during my younger years. Build on your own unique strengths to minimize or hide your limitations.
This interview was made possible with exclusive photography and styling provided by Shian Bang of Bang Photography. For more information on check out his Instagram: @bangbing_b8 or Website: www.bangphotography.net . Article edited by Cecilia Leong.